Have you ever experienced anxiety when you received bad news, weathered trials, or faced the uncertainties of illness?
Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #57 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.
Since we live in a fallen world influenced by the sin, we know that sooner or later we will face trials and tribulations, troubles and problems, difficulties, illness and disease, or loss.
If you have not experienced any of these challenges, you simply haven’t lived long enough. Hang around awhile and you, too, will run out of steam, reach the end of your rope, hit the wall, walk through a valley, or feel like you’re on your last legs.
Our emotional reactions to such trials are many: concern, nervousness, angst, apprehension, dread, discouragement, despair, anguish, fear, desperation. And, of course, worry, which someone defined as trying to solve problems without God, and anxiety, defined as worry that’s below the surface.
We can experience anxiety about social or societal developments – the macro level negative developments we hear about daily on news channels. I remember people, Christians, in the early days of COVID in 2020, who were clearly struggling with anxiety and maybe fear about this threatening and for many, deadly, virus.
Or we can experience anxiety about personal, or for want of a better term, emotional developments – the micro level negative circumstances that occur in our own or our loved ones or friends’ lives.
It is at this point, when we’ve hit the wall dealing with – or rather we’ve come to a point where we realize we cannot deal with our problems, especially personal ones – that we have choices to make. We can yield to overwhelming, crushing anxiety and perhaps end up in depression.
Millions of Americans, we’re told, turn to opioids or some other form of medical treatment, sadly, even though these addictive, expensive, dangerous solutions are no solutions at all. They may deaden emotional pain and anxiety, but they do not make them go away, or provide a long-term source of healing and peace.
Some people never get out of this cycle, living out their lives in perpetual addiction or a few ending their lives in suicide.
Or, we can do as the Lord instructed us in his word:
“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,” (Phil. 4:6-7).
We instructed not to be anxious, which of course is difficult to do in many circumstances. Yet the Lord says in every situation. And if we do this with thanksgiving, the Lord will grant us peace that passes understanding. This is a phenomenal and powerful promise.
In the Psalms, the shepherd king David loudly and poetically laments his trials, troubles, and fears. He tells God about everything he’s confronting and feeling, and as a poet, he does so with creative imagery and memorable phrasing.
But David does not stay in his feelings and fears. He does not, like modern psychology says to do, “look inside himself” or “trust himself” to make changes. He knows he cannot handle the trials and tribulations that overwhelm him.
David does not stay wallowing in himself but looks outside himself to the Sovereign God. Time and again, when David’s anxiety is supreme and his fears threaten to drown him, he turns to the Lord.
David says this: “We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you,” (Psalm 33:20-22).
David looks to the Lord for refuge, for deliverance, for peace.
- the Person of God, meaning God’s character, who he is.
- the Providence of God, what God has done in the past,
- the Promises of God, what God says he will do for us in the future,
- the Presence of God, how God never leaves us nor forsakes us, even in the Valley of the Shadow of Death,
- and the Peace of God, what God grants to those who place their faith in him.
David celebrated God’s person, providence, promises, presence, and peace, all of which delivered David from his anxiety and fear.
“Since my youth, God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come,” (Ps. 71:17-18).
In the Christmas song, “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” the lyrics reminds us: “the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.” “And peace to men on earth.”
Jesus’ advent in the manger, and his later life and finished work on the cross and in the resurrection, sealed God’s promise to those who believe. Our hopes and fears are met in him, and he provides peace.
One last reminder and encouragement from the shepherd King David: “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever,” (Ps. 73:26).
Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com.
And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2022
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