Archive for February, 2010
That term, anxiety attacks, is not meant as a noun; rather it is a complete statement (noun + verb).
The Bible says: “How long will I store up anxious concerns within me, agony in my mind every day? How long will my enemy dominate me?”
The psalmist seems to be speaking here in immediate, physical terms. However, the reality of anxiety seems to support the notion that this can be understood in spiritual terms, as well. Our Enemy is after us (1 Peter5:8), and Paul makes it clear that we can give Satan “a foothold” in our lives through our emotions. “Be angry and do not sin…and do not give the Devil an opportunity.” (Eph. 4:26-27). If through anger we can give the Devil an opportunity, certainly, anxiety can do the same. Anxiety is, in it’s simplist spiritual terms, a lack of trust in God’s sovereignty. When I am anxious about life’s circumstances, I am essentially not trusting that God is in control. It’s quite easy, then, to see how the Devil can get a foothold here.
I have recently become familiar with the MercyMe song “Bring the Rain.” The lyrics of this song speak volumes to me because I can directly relate from my life. “I can count a million times people asking me how I can praise You with all that I’ve gone through…Can circumstances possibly change who I forever am in You? Maybe since my life was changed long before these rainy days, it’s never really ever crossed my mind to turn my back on you, oh Lord, my only shelter from the storm, but instead I draw closer through these times.”
Even in my short time on this earth, there have been times when I felt like the Disciples in the storm while Jesus slept in the boat (Mark 4:39-41) asking God “Don’t you care if I drown?” But my trust/faith in God is not, nor has ever been, an expression or result of the circumstances I am in. Even so, I find myself struggling with “control” from time to time.
I have been thinking quite a bit about anxiety over the last few weeks. My wife and I have seen some difficult circumstances in the last 10 years of our marriage. Through losing 2 children, being in a difficult church staff position (not the one I’m in now!!), living 12 hours away from all of our family, and others, we have seen God’s faithfulness both in good times and bad. Regarding anxiety, most recently, we have found ourselves in the process of searching for a house to buy and have been going through the stressful process of making an offer and waiting on the outcome, for the very first time. I know, I know…in the grand scheme of life, this is not a big deal like losing a loved one or something, but I do find the waiting and negotiating stressful.
I think Paul may have been familiar with anxiety in stress (see 2 Corinthians 11:24-27), so when he writes “do not worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. AND THE PEACE OF GOD…will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus,” he knows exactly what he is talking about (Phil. 4:6; emphasis mine). He understood that our hearts and minds need peace when anxiety is beating down the door. The only salve for an anxious, stressed-out heart is found in prayer which will ultimately lead to a submissive, humble heart that relies more and more on God’s sovereignty
Anxiety is a spiritual issue and is certainly an arena for spiritual warfare. We must guard our hearts and minds with the peace of God in Christ Jesus. This needs to be as much, if not more, offensive than defensive. Certainly when we become anxious, we should boldly approach the Throne of God per Hebrews 4:16 in response to life. However, we can be more prepared for anxiety if we have a guarded heart.
Lord, may my heart find contentment and trust in you and your unfailing love. When anxiety comes bursting through the door of my heart, may I quickly come before you laying by burdens at your feet. May a fortified wall of the peace of God be built around my heart and mind through prayer and petition.
There are many things I love about being a part of FBC Keller. One of those things is how genuinly people care for each other, especially in the midst of tragedy. They truly care…emotionally, spiritually, physically. They don’t merely talk about caring, they actively, persistently, and consistently show it.
In an unexpected turn of events, a good friend (a husband & father of 7) passed away yesterday. Without delay, people rallied behind the family praying and looking for tangible ways to show support. When circumstances take a turn for the worst, this fellowship of believers become very tangible expressions of their faith in Christ and his love.
Though the circumstances are not desirable, it warms my soul to see and be allowed to participate in and be a part of FBC Keller.
Thank you, dear church, for the way you have reached out to this family! In times like these, you show that you truly are ‘the caring family!’ Keep it up!!