Monday, July 18, 2011
From Anxiety to Trust
As we settled in our pew, I began a slow breathing exercise to calm my anxiety. It helped, but not nearly as much as the Word being preached and the worship that filled the sanctuary. Both lifted me out of myself so that I could hear what the Lord had to say. What began with anxiety that morning, ended with a prayer of gratitude for God's goodness in revealing to me my sin and its remedy.
Our pastor has been preaching a series on the Songs of Ascent in the Psalms. Psalm 127 and 128 were to focus this past Sunday. The first few verses of Psalm 127 are what began to open my mind and heart releasing them from the icy prison of anxiety. These words of Solomon are so rich with wisdom: "Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for He gives to His beloved sleep."
Jesus said it well: "Therefore do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body what you will put on.....And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? " (Matthew 6:25a; 27). Jesus goes on to describe how God takes care of the flowers of the field and the birds of the air. Being even more valuable than these creatures, God will also take care of us. He already knows what we need. While I have read these verses a zillion times, somehow they didn't register until now. It became clear to me that worry was a sin. My anxiety resulted from lack of trust in God who watches over all the affairs of my life.
Amazing, isn't it? We can be given a precious gift (like time with my husband on a special trip) and yet, we begin to worry about all the "what ifs" that may never occur. Even if they do occur, what is the worst thing that can happen that God cannot deal with? I had a counselor point that out to me years ago. She told me that even if we suffer a bout of depression, a panic attack, or some other problem, does that mean our life is over and God is not present to help lift us up? Admittedly, the answer is "no". Since nothing can separate us from His love, we have no reason to fear and all the more reason to trust.
I left church fully blessed. I repented of the sin of worry and committed my heart to greater trust in God. Let no one ever say that God does not speak through His Word when it is faithfully preached in the assembly of believers. When we come expecting to hear from the Lord, He will never disappoint us. I am grateful to our faithful pastors who study and share from God's Word each week. Most importantly, I am grateful to God for setting me free from the bondage of anxiety.
Are you faithfully attending church each week? There is a wealth of fellowship, teaching, and prayer that can help you face the trials and circumstances of your life. You may not suffer from anxiety, but there is no problem to big or small which the Lord cannot touch. God dwells in the middle of His people when they come together in worship before Him. Do not miss out on His blessings. Answers to life's dilemmas come when we seek first His kingdom. He will add just what we need when we need it. Selah!
How has God been speaking to you this week? What Scriptures come to your mind as you face each day? I welcome your thoughts and insights here as well as your encouragement.