“When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought me joy.”(Psalm 94:19)
We are living in times where anxiety, stress, uncertainty, doubts are choking off our ability to stay focused and hopeful. So many words are spoken, so many of them are not truthful. The more I look around the more I see just how spiritually starved we are and how so important it is for us to have the Word of God written into our hearts so that when these storms come, we have an anchor in God’s Word that help us navigate through all the troubles of this life.
I find that when we meditate on God’s promises to help us, strengthen us, God’s Word revives me and brings hope through the scriptures. God’s Word is truly the “antidote” for what really ails us during these difficult times. We need truth, we need perspective that can be found only in the Word of God.
That said, I have been so moved by this post below written by my wife Patty that is focusing specifically on something we are all going through in one measure or another, anxiousness of the heart. Patty is a spiritually gifted writer who loves and trusts in Jesus Christ and the Word of God.
I am personally and greatly thanking God every day for bringing her into my life. I have watched for so long how she has been used powerfully by God in encouraging me and so many others around us through her words of encouragement, whether in person, or in her writing. I have chosen to post her encouragement today because the topic she chose, ‘anxiousness of the heart’ seems so timely, with all the pandemic corona virus going around the globe.
If you’re finding yourself anxious in these times and in need of relief, comfort and hope, take a moment, and read this post she wrote. Pray and ask God, ‘Lord, what are you speaking here that You want me to see?’ The Lord bless you, search on the link at the bottom of this post for more posts from her site: ‘A Prudent Woman’
Here is the post from my wife to all who need relief from “anxiousness of the heart”
“These are troubled times. We are in the midst of this worldwide pandemic. COVID-19 virus has everyone on edge. Many people here in the U.S.and around the world are anxiously waiting for this crisis to come to an end. So many people are sick, so many have died from this awful malady. Business closing, schools closed for the remainder of the school year…we hear “experts” telling us that the worse is yet to come…We see people hoarding grocery items, store shelves wiped clean…we are told that we can’t work, and to stay in our homes, away from people, to wear masks, gloves to keep ourselves from getting infected. Questions like, will we have enough money to pay our rent…our bills enter our minds.
If you are like me, you scan the news for any information that can help explain how this got so out of hand. Then I have to be careful not to go down the rabbit hole of conspiracy theories and corruption. Finally, it all gets too overwhelming and I tune out… I don’t watch the news or listen to anything about this terrible virus. Sound familiar to anyone or am I the only one?
We all have valid reasons to be anxious. It’s a natural response when things happen that we have no control over. What do I do with this anxiousness when it comes? Many people try to distract themselves with video games or bringing on Netflix, some try using alcohol or drugs to lessen the stress, but that provides only a temporary relief at best. At the end of it all, the trouble and your anxiety are still there.
The passage quoted above starts with, “When anxiety was great within me”... Another version of this passage says it this way, “When anxiety overtakes me and worries are many,“ Sounds like the the psalmist is living in 2020 doesn’t it? He’s a little overwhelmed too, I love that cause it shows me that it’s a normal reaction to situations in life.
But look what he says in the next breath…“Your comfort lightens my soul.” This tells me that I don’t have to stay in that place where anxiety overtakes me. But what are these comforts and where do I find them? The comfort he speaks of comes from the very words of God.
The Bible is filled with the Lord’s promises, words of comfort and encouragement. Psalm 116:1-2 says this: “I love the Lord; for not only does He hear my voice, my pleas for mercy, But He leaned down when I was in trouble and brought His ear close to me. So as long as I have breath, I will call on Him.”
Did you catch that? The psalmist says, that God leaned down and brought His ear close. Imagine… the Creator of the universe cares enough for you to lean down and bring His ear close to hear your concerns.
Lets look at what Jesus told His disciples on the night He was betrayed. No doubt He was anxious over the coming events, His betrayal, the cruel treatment He would suffer at the hands of the Romans and ultimately be crucified. He Himself was overwhelmed, in great anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane, so much so that Scripture says He sweat great drops of blood. Yet this is what He told them in the hours prior to this. ‘Don’t get lost in despair; believe in God, and keep on believing in Me.… My peace is the legacy I leave to you. I don’t give gifts like those of this world. Do not let your heart be troubled or fearful.’ John 14:1, 27 the Voice says: ‘I have told you these things so that you will be whole and at peace. In this world, you will be plagued with times of trouble, but you need not fear; I have triumphed over this corrupt world.’‘ John 16:33 the Voice He tells them not to be lost in despair, but to keep on believing. That peace is the legacy He leaves them. He tells them to expect trouble, but in the next breath He tells them, not to fear, that He’s taken care of this trouble.
Let’s consider the words of the apostle Paul next who suffered much persecution during his ministry to God’s people. “The Lord is ever present with us. Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.” (Philippians 4:5-7)
In this passage, when Paul says ‘Don’t be anxious’, he isn’t saying ‘Hey get a grip on yourself’, but instead is giving us reasons how not to be anxious. He had many anxious moments, much trouble, but he has learned through all this that God comforts His people by telling them how to deal with the anxiety that plagues them. Let’s consider these reasons for a moment.
The Lord is ever present with us. (The Lord is near), Anxiety comes when our eyes look at the problem and not on the Lord. We forget He is ever present. We forget that we have a hope in Him that is bigger than any threat. When you know that Jesus is near, that His Spirit has never left you, the anxiety you feel lessens, so when you are anxious, start remembering that the Lord is near.
He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God. (The Lord is listening) All throughout the Psalms we read the words “Hear me Oh Lord”, “Give heed to voice of my cry.” In Psalm 28 David even says: “I pray to You, O Lord my Rock, Do not turn a deaf ear to me for if You are silent, I might as well give up and die.” Anxious cries to be sure! David is calling out to the only one who by faith is listening.
So when you are anxious, pour out your heart to God. He is listening.
Pour out your heart to Him. Honestly, boldly, He is a big God, He can take everything you tell Him. Admit to Him your anxious thought, fears, struggles. It’s okay to say Lord, I don’t understand this. Admit to Him that even though you say He is in control, you are still holding on tightly to the reins. His peace will stand watch over your heart and mind. (The Lord is guarding you)
Here is another one of the reasons that will comfort my soul. Paul says the peace of God that surpasses understanding, meaning you won’t really understand the peace you are experiencing in the midst of your troubles, guards your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus. What does that mean? God is watching over us perpetually, guarding over us day and night, even when we fail to recognize it.
When we give our cares to Him, He replaces them with His peace. This is a Divine exchange. This is where you let go of your control of your cares. This is where your cares become His. It is the understanding that God has everything that concerns you in control. That’s why you give your anxious heart to Him. His response is His peace. If you take back your cares, anxiousness returns and you are essentially giving back His peace.
He holds the universe in His hands and His plans and purpose will be brought about. So when you are anxious remember God and remember He is guarding you with His peace.
I know, it’s easy to say these things, harder to actually do them right? God is looking to have a deeper relationship with His children. He wants you to be able to come to Him freely, to trust that He can help you in your time of need. That’s why God gave us a free will. We can choose to seek Him and ask for His help in dealing with our anxiety, or we can hold on to it with both hands and not let go. When you humble yourself and ask God for help, the gap between what you say you believe and what you actually believe closes. It becomes easier to release your fears, struggles and anxiety to Him knowing He is listening, knowing He cares. Now, God’s listening doesn’t mean your problems will go away, but God does promise to strengthen us, to give us hope in the midst of these problems.
Finally, Paul says this:
‘Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy. Keep to the script: whatever you learned and received and heard and saw in me do it and the God of peace will walk with you.’
(Philippians 4:8-9 the Voice)
So, when anxieties over take you, and you’re feeling overwhelmed, STOP. Give them to God. Begin to fill your mind with truth. God’s truth. Meditate on those things that are listed above. Release the worry and allow God to replace them with His peace. Paul encourages the believers to stay the course and if they do the peace of God will walk with them through out each day.
I’ll end with Jesus’s own words. May He bring peace to your heart and mind as you seek Him.
“So do not consume yourselves with questions: What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? Outsiders make themselves frantic over such questions; they don’t realize that your heavenly Father knows exactly what you need. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all these things will be given to you too. So do not worry about tomorrow. Let tomorrow worry about itself. Living faithfully is a large enough task for today.” (Matthew 6:31-34 the Voice)
Til next time, Patty