by Pastor Mark Shupe
“Anxiety is taking on responsibilities we were never intended to have.” I heard that quote when I was in college and the statement has stuck with me ever since. Webster’s Dictionary defines anxiety as “apprehensive uneasiness or nervousness usually over an impending or anticipated ill.” Both of those definitions reflect what all of us have been experiencing to some degree since the dreaded coronavirus made its way into our country, state and our lives.
At times we try to tackle situations and events that are meant for God alone to handle. Nearly all of us have experienced those middle of the night times when it feels like the whole world is caving in. The Bible tells us to not be anxious and there is a good reason it does – because we still feel anxious at different times.
God has quite a bit to say about the topic of anxiety as it relates to how burdensome it can be and how we can be freed from such heaviness.
Weight of Anxiety
- Proverbs 12:25 – Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, but a good word makes it glad.
- Psalm 38:18 – For I confess my iniquity; I am full of anxiety because of my sin.
- Psalm 94:19 – When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul.
- Luke 12:25-26 – And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters?
Charles Spurgeon simply said it like this: “Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.” The kind of anxiety the Bible talks about can be distracting and even damaging to our souls. Fortunately, Scripture also shows us how to be free of the burdens of our worries.
Antidote for Anxiety
- Philippians 4:6-9 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, 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.
Prayer is the means God has given us to turn over to Him what we were never meant to carry ourselves. In reference to the above verses, The Word Biblical Commentary states: “Paul is saying, in effect, that prayer is a conversation with, a plea directed to, a request made of and information given to the supreme Person of the universe, who can hear, know, understand, care about and respond to the concerns that otherwise would sink people in despair.”
There are several places in the Bible where we are invited into the very presence and care of our heavenly Father.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:17- 18 – Pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
- 1 Peter 5:6-7 – Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.
- Matthew 11:28-30 – Come to Me all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
When we come to God and lay our burdens, worries and anxieties at His feet, He promises to give us His peace that is beyond comprehension and that will guard our hearts and minds. The word “guard” (Philippians. 4:7) is a military term that refers to a garrison or body of troops that are stationed to surround and protect a town. In this sense, when we practice releasing our burdens to God, when we take time to recognize His great care of us, when we refocus our minds on His sovereign and complete control of all we are facing – then God dispenses His peace like a garrison of soldiers to guard and protect our hearts and minds from the assaults of worry and anxiety.