Of all life's emotions, feeling anxiety is one of the most frustrating.
We believe something bad has happened or is going to happen, but we don't know what. Anxiety has been called "worry without an object" because there's always a degree of vagueness involved.
In today's economy, all the sensational news reports and doom and gloom "experts" can leave you with a frightened attitude. Every little burp in the stock market sends them into predictions that the world is coming to an end.
Anxiety steals our peace of mind. It gets us all worked up, and yet we can't really identify what the problem is. How we envy those folks who seem to chug along through life, always on an even keel, never upset or fidgety.
It's a fact that some people are more prone to feeling anxiety than others. They just have a more fretful personality. In some cases, anxiety may have a medical cause, so it's always wise to discuss it with your doctor.
Anxiety has a way of sneaking up on you. One minute you may be perfectly calm, then suddenly you have this sensation that something bad is about to happen. You can't identify anything specifically, but you have a feeling or hunch that catastrophe is going to strike.
Let me tell you that it's a misconception that Christians should be completely assured and in control all the time. We have emotions just like unbelievers. We can be caught off guard. We're subject to the influences of the world too.
Many preachers feel that anxiety is a sin. They believe it shows a lack of faith in God. They should read Luke 22:44:
And being in anguish, he (Jesus) prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
Obviously Jesus was in turmoil about his upcoming crucifixion. It might be argued that he was tempted by worry rather than anxiety, because he knew what he was distressed about.
The important point, however, is what Jesus did in response to these feelings: he prayed.
We read later that Jesus was able to accept his Father's will for him and bravely sacrificed himself for mankind. Through prayer, he received the power to do what he had to do.
That same power is available to us.
We don't go to God with our problems often enough. Some people think that's all they do in their prayers, asking for relief for themselves constantly. While we do need to balance our prayer life with praise, thanksgiving, and intercession for others, we can't have an intimate relationship with anyone--including Jesus--if we try to hide things from them.
Of course, he knows it all anyway, but he does want us to depend on him, and that's what's so hard. No matter how long you've been a Christian, casting your cares on Jesus is always difficult because we have this haunting feeling that he's going to handle things in a way we don't like.
Sometimes that's true! We may not agree with how he solves things. In our stubbornness (and I've been guilty of this so many times I've lost count!), we think we could solve it better ourselves. But we don't need to hit rock bottom before we take our anxieties to God. He is our Healer and the Holy Spirit is our Comforter and we need to give them opportunities to prove that.
When we're feeling anxiety, we can stew, run around in circles, and get all worked up. Or we can turn our anxiety over to Someone who not only knows what the real problem is but also has the power to fix it.
Which way sounds better to you?
Make this choice, and you will trust in God...