When a Christian Has Anxiety …

Are you a Christian who struggles with anxiety? Perhaps your debt load is causing you worry. Perhaps your spouse’s behavior makes you afraid your relationship will not last. Or you fear you may be laid off from your job … or that you can’t find a job. Perhaps you went through some traumatic experience or a series of stressful events. Or you have some health condition or genetic predisposition that makes you more susceptible to being nervous. Or you worry over something you can’t quite put your finger on …

Then there may be added pressure because you have at least some feeling that as a Christian you shouldn’t worry. You may have received well-meaning advice from fellow Christians telling you that you should not worry. God will take care of you. And so you try not to worry and you put up a good front when at church so your friends will not make you feel guilty or give advice without knowing what you are going through.

And you know that God is good. God will take care of you. Or more importantly, whatever God does to you or allows to happen to you is His decision. He is God, and you are not. You know that you should not be afraid, but be at peace. But somewhere inside, you wonder if God will be good TO YOU. Wonder what will happen if … Worry how you will survive if …

Or perhaps it’s gone further than that. Perhaps your anxiety has become chronic. Perhaps you have panic attacks. Perhaps you avoid places or daily life activities.

Of course, if you are in the way of a speeding Mac truck, the whole adrenaline, heart-pumping, tight-muscled, racing sort of reaction is reasonable until you are out of harm’s way. Stressful, harmful, painful things do happen even to the best of us. But not all of our reactions are so practical or reasonable as jumping out of the way of a truck.

Remember when the disciples were in a boat with a sleeping Jesus on the Sea of Galilee? A storm suddenly whipped up, the disciples woke Jesus fearing that they were about to drown, Jesus calms the storm with a word and then says … “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” Apparently Jesus expected His disciples to have known that the Father’s agenda did not include drowning for His Son or disciples.

Granted, worry shows I don’t trust God’s power, wisdom, or goodness. And, if you are His child, He will act toward you as a good Father. Just knowing that gives you a great advantage even though you may not always feel that it does. But your problems may have a number of causes and your way out may best be served with a multi-pronged approach tailored to your condition.

That might require professional help, the support and prayers of church members who truly understand your circumstances, changes in lifestyle, natural remedies, medical attention, your faithful meditation on the Scriptures, ongoing prayer with thankfulness, among other possibilities. Your way out may be quick and easy, or it may require time and effort or patience and endurance. Even love in the storms.

Christians should not worry, but in this life Christians also struggle with sin. Denying that we worry is not only not the answer, but a sign that we are denying a sin Christ died to wash away. If we have no sin (or say we have none) we don’t need a Savior from sin. But it does not end there.

If we confess our worry, our unbelief, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness through Jesus our Advocate (cf. 1 John 1:8-2:1). In the end, peace with God will prove the most important kind of peace.

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