Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down,

but a good word makes him glad.

Proverbs 12: 25

 

Anxiety is real. It is not a false emotion or the result of a failure of faith, of trust, or of any other aspect of discipline or understanding. When a person is anxious, normal processes and functions are disrupted and are often interrupted. An anxious mind is seldom one that clearly processes information, and it struggles with making quick and well-reasoned decisions. This all happens in degrees, for sometimes we experience a sense that things are not alright or that there is something unpleasant coming our way. However, at other times, this same sort of feeling can become so strong as to set off hormonal responses in the body as it starts to trigger strong responses such as fight or flight. There is something in the nature of our world today that is causing us to be an anxious people, too. There is certainly much to be uncertain about, and our days are burdened with concerns and cares that are present on every level of society and in almost every culture, nation, and group of people.

 

God has given us the gift of science and also the gift of the knowledge and skill of people who have learned to assess and to diagnose the issues that plague our bodies and our minds, and He has also provided us with treatments and with medications that work to combat the disabling effects of anxiety. I endorse the seeking of professional medical and mental health support and the appropriate use of therapies and medications. I also believe that God has given to us tools of faith to use in order to gain the upper hand on our concerns, fears, and other disabling feelings and emotions. As we can see from this proverb, anxiety is not new or singularly a part of our troubled modern world and its culture. Anxiety goes back to the beginning of human existence, for I would not be surprised if we could speak with Adam and Eve that they would be able to testify to their own highly anxious moments of hiding out from the presence of God as He was taking His afternoon garden stroll. However, anxious thoughts can lead us to something very good.

 

Adam and Eve came out into the open and faced into the issues at hand with the Lord. Not all that happens as a result was pleasant for them, for sure, but not all of it was bad, either. Their anxiety was the direct result of their disobedience to God; yet, that is not always the case with others. When sin is the causal issue, confession, repentance, and seeking God’s gracious wisdom is often a means to find relief from the disabling aspects of the concerns at hand. In other situations, we can still turn to God in honest and open prayer while also seeking out the wisdom that is found in God’s Word and through the counsel and advice of other people with faith in Christ. We can also turn to the people in Christ’s body, the church, to walk through these difficult times with their arms enfolding us in the tangible presence of Christ. These people of faith, God’s Word, and the voice of His Spirit are all sources for those good words that the Lord gives to us to encourage our spirits and to focus our minds on truth. The presence of Christ brings peace and clarity of thought, and from this hoy place, we can more readily face the challenges of today with Christ’s joy in our hearts and on the mind.

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