DON’T FEED THE ANXIETY BEAST
Got anxiety, anyone?
Well, we’re Christians, so we shouldn’t have any worries. Right?
We trust in the Lord. We do trust in the Lord and we also have worries and anxiety.
How does that work?
We trust Him with the big stuff. We are washed in the blood of the Lamb. We have our reservations set for Heaven. What a relief. Nothing to worry about.
But do we trust Him to see to it that we have money to make the mortgage payment? Can we trust Him to keep that nasty boss at work from upsetting us tomorrow? Does God’s grace extend to helping us to stay on that diet and lose weight? Will God eliminate that medical condition or heal that troubled relationship that plagues us in the day to day of our lives?
Why is it so easy to trust God with the big stuff and so hard to trust Him with the nitty gritty of our lives? Do we have faulty faith? Are we spiritual defectives?
The disciple Peter is my hero. He stepped out of the boat. Christ came walking along on the water and after the disciples got over their heart failure that it was a ghost: “Fear not, it is I,” Peter, that bold upstart, asked to come out to Jesus on the water. Christ said come on and Peter. Peter walked on water. For about one or two steps, then he looked down at the raging water and fell in. Jesus lifted him out and said “Man of little faith” which bingo, of course, this was right but he STEPPED OUT. He had the faith, the real faith, to step out to his Lord. He knew that the Lord could make it possible for him to walk on water to Him.
But the problem came in when he took his eyes off of Jesus and looked at the raging waters.
So where is your attention? On the Savior that saved you from your sins or the medical condition/bad coworker/financial challenge, you fill in the blank.
The Israelites in the wilderness had God open up a lake for them to walk through on dry land to escape the Egyptians. They had God’s Glory go with them in the daytime in a pillar of cloud and in the night time in a pillar of fire. They literally traveled in the presence of the Glory of God so they not only knew who He was, they knew where He was. They were living in God’s visible presence and yet they complained to Moses that they weren’t getting any meat to eat – just this stupid manna day after day. They said they would be better off dead or back in Egypt as slaves.
With God in plain sight, they couldn’t trust Him for their daily needs. Sound familiar?
The Lord gave my hubby John and I a particular painting called “Peace, Be Still” as a special message from Him to us throughout our marriage. It shows Christ standing in the boat with the disciples calming a massive storm.
The message that the Lord has been sending to us over and over and over again is simply “Trust me.” We’ve been married nine years and the Lord is still working on us in this but His point is clear. I calm the storms. I calm the storms of your life. I am always in the boat. I may seem to be sleeping but you have not escaped my attention and I will care for you.
Jesus says that He wants us to have life and have it abundantly. Does he mean when we pass through the portal from life here to life in the hereafter? No. The abundant life is supposed to start up immediately, once we know Him as our Savior.
So what’s the problem? Why do we rob ourselves of the abundant life and live lives of furtive internal terror? This was definitely not God’s plan.
There’s a wonderful old hymn:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus.
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth
Will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.
We don’t have a pillar of cloud to follow by day and a pillar of God’s fire to travel with in the night. One thing that has been tremendous, just tremendous in my spiritual life has been a practice that my husband John and I started early in our marriage. Understand, I had been a Christian for many years before this but I was casual about Bible reading. A little here. A little there. Some weeks the only Bible I would get was in the actual church service on Sunday.
John and I decided to read the Word together each morning and pray together. We decided to start at the start of the Bible and read through the Old Testament by a chapter a day. We also did one chapter from the New Testament a day – Matthew through Revelation and then we start over. We also do one Psalm or one Proverb because I think Psalms and Proverbs are way cool.
So, without much planning or intention, we are regularly soaking ourselves in the scriptures. The Bible, dear brothers and sisters, is the manual which God provided for His people. It is your cloud and your fire. It will chasten you and teach you. It will touch you and change you. You can no more afford to ignore it than if you got a daily love letter from the love of your life and you didn’t open it.
Dr. David Jeremiah says that the opposite of fear is faith. Faith isn’t automatic. The storms of life are big and everywhere. The media is full of horrors and challenges to our beliefs every day and in every way. Consider what you are letting in.
Faith comes over time. By trusting everything in your life to God. By giving up on the idea of running your own life and inviting God to run it. He is so much better at it.
By turning every problem, challenge and fear over to God and doing it over and over and over again if you have to. Sometimes you will have to.
“Lord, I’m petrified to go to the doctor because I’m afraid of what she is going to say.”
“Lord I have no idea how we are going to handle this financial dilemma. Please help us not only to know what to do but to trust you to take care of us.”
Read the Word of God and see how many times it says He is caring for His own. You are His own.
Don’t feed the anxiety beast. Dump your fears at the foot of the cross in heartfelt prayer. Watch your intake of the world and feed that soul and spirit with the wonderful words that He gave you: your cloud and fire.