Fear and Anxiety

Fear and anxiety seem to be a big part of today’s society. Questions abound!  What is happening to society?  Will I die from Covid-19? Will the Democrats usher in communism?  Will the Republicans put into place a theocracy?  Will the other party take away my freedoms?  Will I be a victim of a crime?  Will I be killed because of the color of my skin? Will I be able to pay my rent?  Will global warming spell the end of the human race? And there are many more concerns.

There is an element of truth in most of these concerns.  What makes for an effective lie is to have a kernel of truth and then blow it out of proportion by adding falsehoods to it.  That leads to anxiety and irrational fears.  Today there are many people who are promoting fear.  They use fear to promote their agenda, to sell advertisements, to sell products, and/or to dehumanize others.  The end result is stress because we become anxious about things that may or may not happen.

Fear is not always a bad thing.  You do not step in front of a speeding car.  You do not run off a 200 foot cliff.  Fear of getting hurt should prevent you from these stupid acts.   You demonstrate fear and respect for the speeding car and for the 200 foot cliff.  However, it is irrational to not be able to walk up to an edge of a cliff.  Also it is irrational not to be able to cross any street because of the fear of getting hit.  Both of these actions can be done in a safe manner.

In the same way, it is good to fear God and to give him the respect, awe, and reverence he deserves.  When Isaiah found himself in the presence of God, he cried out, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips…”.  And that he was and because of his sin he was right to fear God. And yet forgiveness was spoken to him in the words, “your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for”.  The same is true of us.  We are lost in our sin, and yet God desires to forgive us and bring us back to him.  We turn to him as forgiven children of God and are told not to be afraid.  

God is our foundation, our rock, in this frightening world we live in.  We need not fear and be anxious about the happenings in the world.  God is at work in the world, redeeming it and there will be a day when Jesus will come back and make all things right.  Though we can go through some tough times, when we may wonder where God is, know that God works all things for good for those who love him.  We need not be afraid and anxious even when things look bleak.  Trust God and he will come through in his time and at the end of time.  As children of God, we cannot lose. We will win in the end.

I have experienced some tough times, and God has used those tough times for my good.  23 years ago, I fell deathly ill with Guillain-Barre Syndrome.  I spent 6 weeks in the hospital (2 weeks in the ICU) and 7 weeks recovering in a nursing home and many more months getting back to near normal.  All this happened while I was engaged to Gail. This was a tough time for Gail and I.  The strange thing was through the illness, I grew closer to God by recognizing more of his goodness and grace.  Because of my illness, Gail got time off from teaching in Oregon to come and see me in Colorado, albeit in a hospital bed.  And going through that struggle, our love for each other was strengthened, so that our marriage started strong.  Though I would not recommend it to anyone, God used my illness for my good as well as the good of our marriage.  There was no reason to be afraid or anxious, because God was in control and he was working things out for our good.

So whether it is Covid-19 or political divisiveness or something else, trust that God has this and God will work it out in his way and his time. You need not fear. This hope and trust is not some sort of pollyanna positivity, and it is not wishful thinking.  You need to be realistic and realize that the world is broken and bad things happen.  And yet God is there for you, to walk alongside you, and to give you hope.  He is there with you through the tough times though you may not understand why things are so bad. Just know that there is no need to be anxious, because God is working things out in his way and in his time for your good. Our calling is to trust God, and to follow and serve him as we live out our lives for him. Do that, and do not worry about the rest.  God has it.

3 thoughts on “Fear and Anxiety

  1. Paul, thanks for this blog – made me think of Abraham and the anxiety he must have had when told to sacrifice Isaac, and how God provided the ram for sacrifice instead, in His perfect timing. Jehovah Jireh, The Provider.

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