In the midst of the Covid pandemic lies another killer which has topped all other mental health issues in the United States, some even say this has surpassed all other causes of death, and the culprit is anxiety. Did you know that more than forty million American adults, nearly one in five are afflicted with anxiety disorders? And even more alarming – statistics show that 25 percent of children between the ages of 13 to 18 are suffering from some sort of anxiety disorder. Although these statistics have been on the rise through the years, this past year has seen a rapid and alarming increase. Let us face it, we face much larger and more varied threats to a peaceful life than did those who have gone before us. Although we may not be facing the lion and the bear, we know the fragility of financial, social, professional, even political insecurity. Our children face the ever-increasing threats from drugs, pornography, social media, and bullying to say nothing of the ongoing health hazards that are presented daily.
Stop the madness you say, “This is sounding like the constant alarms of ongoing danger presented on every news report on whatever media outlet you choose. The report about anxiety is causing an increase in anxiety.”
What is a person to do when you feel under the constant pull of anxiety?
The first line of defense is turning to the word of God, following what it says, and thereby finding help from the only source that can truly help, the Sovereign God Who has control of every variable of life and has promised relief of our cares as we turn to Him.
It sounds so simple that when troubles arise, we turn them over to God in prayer but even the simple is most often overlooked.
Philippians 4:6–7 (ESV) — 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus
1 Peter 5:6–7 (ESV) — 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
Psalm 55:22 (ESV) — 22 Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
Notice the commands above are to pray about everything instead of being anxious about anything. That means whatever is troubling you, you turn that burden over to God. We also notice that your prayer and supplication (strong crying) is to include gratitude. Don’t miss the call to humble ourselves by casting all of our cares upon Him. In other words, your being obstinate about this simple command is a demonstration of your pride and that will get you nowhere but trouble. Don’t miss the part about the command to cast all of our cares upon Him as it’s based upon His care for us. We can’t get away from these verses without pointing out the promised results of this simple but significant command regarding anxiety – peace and stability. The very things of which anxiety robs us, God promises to provide when we pray.
God’s word continues to give us help through hope from His instruction as we continue with the need to bring our thoughts in line with God’s word.
Philippians 4:8 (ESV) — 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Matthew 6:31–34 (ESV) — 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Psalm 94:19 (ESV) — 19 When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.
It’s clear we need to put good things into our mind upon which to meditate. It’s easy to fill our minds with news reports, unprofitable talk, and complaining sessions with others or ourselves. God has much to say in His word about His care for us, including the multitude of promises which not only comfort us, encourage us, but also help us to grow.
2 Peter 1:3–4 (ESV) — 3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
One more admonition for recovery from and defense against anxiety and that is so simple but when you know what to do, just do it.
Philippians 4:9 (ESV) — 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Luke 10:38–42 (ESV) — 38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
It’s easy to put off the calls to action in God’s word but here’s the promise of seeking the good part, by applying what we find in God’s word – assurance and peace. Isn’t that better than anxiety? In the long run the toll of anxiety is very high as it can cost us our mental health, physical health, as well as our spiritual health to say nothing of the steep cost in relationships and even financial stability. What a small price then is the simple obedience to God’s word as you exchange anxiety for peace and stability. That is the sure way to attack the anxiety pandemic.