My fears are like a boomerang. It's not like I'm against giving my worries to God—in fact I do so constantly. The problem is they keep coming back.
At night sleep avoids me, despite my best efforts to find it. The thoughts I push back throughout the day beat against my mind in the wee hours. Where will the money for next month's bills come from? When will my health problems finally be resolved? Will I ever find someone I trust to look after my children? When will the next disaster strike?
On and on worry gnaws at me. My stomach is perpetually in knots. I feel numb. Not even church can stir my spirit these days.
God's promises don't seem real. Where is His peace? Where is His rest? My anxiousness threatens to consume me; panic is always just around the corner. I think of little else.
Maybe you've felt the terrifying grip of fear, anxiety, and worry. Banishing these peace-stealers requires understanding and learning what the Bible teaches about them.
Fear is what we feel when we're aware of a real or imaginary danger or a threat. When that continues into a more general, sustained, long-term uneasy state of mind that is Anxiety. Anxiety is distracting care. While there are legitimate daily concerns about things like health, safety, and relationships, anxiety is a state of mind where our thoughts are continually pulled to dwell on circumstances. This activity of bringing fears to mind, chewing them over, and creating mental worst-case scenarios like we do is called Worry.
The basic assumption behind fear, anxiety, and worry is that God isn't involved in our situation for our good. Looking at things from that perspective, our nature is to think and respond to things apart from God in the picture.
The Bible tells us over and over to not fear. God's answer to our fears is to have confidence in His control and care. “For I am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you’” (Isaiah 41:13 NASB). Centre your thoughts on Him. He's not only involved He's in control. He can be trusted to be working for our good. You can commit your fears to Him because He cares about you (1 Peter 5:7).
The Lord also tells us not to be anxious. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:6-9 NIV).
Jesus tells us to not worry (Matthew 6:25-33). If things in this world constantly distract your mind you are worrying. Worry doesn't help us, or solve anything. Instead, focus on God and His purposes.
The Scriptural antidote to fear, anxiety, and worry then is as follows:
Recognize that God is good and is in control of everything (Romans 8:28). His control of everything is motivated by love for us, for our good and His glory. Even though we don't know the big picture we can be at peace because we know Him.
Rest in God. Commit the situation to Him through prayer. Prayer is the exercise of our dependence and trust in Him. Whenever tempted to fear, we are to commit to Him.
Realize what is real and true. Do not focus on hypothetical “what-if” scenarios. Refuse to turn a situation into a worst-case scenario.
Responsibly keep walking in trusting obedience to the Lord, living a God-honouring life.
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you” (Isaiah 26:3 NIV).