Anxiety Is a Thief
I once read a humorous but instructive story about the toll anxiety can have on a person:
"For several years a woman had been having trouble getting to sleep at night because she feared burglars. One night her husband heard a noise in the house, so he went downstairs to investigate. When he got there, he did find a burglar. 'Good evening,' said the man of the house. 'I am pleased to see you. Come upstairs and meet my wife. She has been waiting ten years to meet you.'" (William R. Marshall, Eternity Shut in a Span )
The point is simple: A burglar can steal from you once. Anxiety can steal from you for decades. We all deal with anxiety at some point, a fact that Paul the apostle was well-acquainted with, as he penned two of the most hopeful, anxiety-curbing verses in the Bible:
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)
One of the worst things about anxiety is that it gives us spiritual amnesia: We forget who we are in Christ. We forget that as His coheirs, we have access to His power and glory, that when our priorities line up with His, He will meet our needs. This doesn't mean we go from miracle to miracle in life. Rather, it means that whatever we are facing, we can rest assured that our heavenly Father is aware of it and will stick with us through it all, no matter what. He will even give us the grace and courage to face our challenges.
You might be tempted to dismiss those verses in Philippians, thinking, Well, that sort of approach to anxiety is nice, but my problems are just more complex than that. Though these verses may be simple, they are not simplistic. They are grounded in God's unchanging character and nature, which means they are very needful for us today.
So many of us live huge chunks of our lives trying not to worry but worrying anyway. We tell God what we need, and then, we bite our nails over whether He will provide. We believe He exists, but we're often not convinced He loves us enough to really help us. We hold on to only certain bits and pieces of the truth, leaving us stuck in a world of anxiety where it's tempting to believe that failure, uncertainty, and worrying is all there is in life.
We know we're sinners who fall short of God's glory, and we know that Jesus died to save us from our sin, but somewhere along the way, we've failed to embrace what that means for our outlook on life. To be a Christian means to be adopted by God as His child—to have access to His otherworldly love, power, strength, and peace. That's why, if you can come to embrace and trust in the promise of Philippians 4:6-7, it will revolutionize your life.
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7 ESV
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV
fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10 ESV