Archives For Anxiety

Let’s wrap up our short discussion on H.O.P.E. To recap, stories are one of the most valuable ways to regain hope. That’s why we listen to them, read them, and why God put them in the Bible.

It’s History now, but stories still inspire. In my last post I introduced you to Hannah and her story. We left off with her feeling hopeless.

She had done all she could. She was out of answers. However, she could pray, believe, and wait. In short, if God didn’t show up and do something, then she would never have a child.

That’s what she did. Like the Psalmist she poured out her complaint to God and told Him all about her trouble (Psalm 142:2). Her prayer led to personal peace for we read, “And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad (1 Samuel 1:18, ESV). Soon after she experienced…

Omnipotence. That is, God stepped in. “They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord; then they went back to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her” (1 Samuel 1:19, ESV).

Perhaps you are thinking, “I can only take so much.”  “Or how long will it take?” Or “What’s the purpose in all my mess?”

That’s when you need…

Promises. Not a promise that your pain will go away. Not that the sun will shine brightly on your life tomorrow. You need to know that God is always working, despite what you see and feel. In the present things don’t make sense.  “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28), ESV).

Or do we? We’re beginning to doubt. So right now maybe a lot of problems and predicaments are weaving their way throughout your life. Everywhere you look there are dark clouds.

There is another great story about Joseph. Note what he said about all that he had gone through:  “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” (Genesis 50:20, ESV). The phrase you meant evil against me could be translated you weaved evil into my life. Which they did.

But what did God do? He re-weaved all the bad stuff and turned it into one spectacular finish. I realize happy endings are not automatic. But what I want you to see is the promise that God is working. That’s what we need to know.

That should lead you to our final letter…

Encouragement. Hope and encouragement. Those are found throughout the Old Testament. Even the apostle Paul was aware of the value to be found in the Scriptures, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4, ESV).

H.O.P.E. can be a reality in the midst of your own pain. Is it?

 

iStock_000043385558SmallImagine being woken up during the middle of the night and being hauled off by a foreign army to a foreign country. How would you feel? What would be going through your mind?

Especially if you are a believer. I mean, wouldn’t you begin to question God? Where is He? How could He allow this to happen?

I’m not sure Daniel was awakened from his sleep. He may have been taken during the daytime. But he was captured along with three of his friends and taken to Babylon, the ruling power of the day.

No matter how you cut it, they were teenagers! You will need to read the story in Daniel 1. As you are reading ask the following questions.

* So where is God?

* Has God lost control?

* Couldn’t He have kept this from happening?

* Now what?

What I find fascinating about Daniel 1 is that God is the chief actor! Specifically God does three things.

1. God is the one pulling the strings when the Babylonian army invades Jerusalem.

2. God is the one pulling the strings when Daniel receives a special exemption.

3. God is the one pulling the strings when Daniel and his three friends outshine their classmates.

And just think. Many were thinking, “Where is God?” And He was right there all along. Right in the middle of the action. In fact, God was the main actor.

In your own life have you found yourself questioning where God is? Perhaps one day you will realize that He was there all along, right in the middle of it all!

worryRecently I received a phone call from a friend out of town regarding a job opportunity.  He had gone through an interview and really wanted this particular job.

Following the interview, guess what?  He had to wait.  Waiting turned into anxiety and worrying.

Now his question:

All I’m doing is sitting around worrying.  What do I do about that?

No doubt we all have our questions, our unanswerable questions.

What if I don’t get the job?

Will my kids ever get on track?

Can my marriage survive?

Now let me be candid.  I would love to have the answers at my fingertips.  But if I did, I would most likely simply be blowing smoke.

I’m not sure why Moses had to herd sheep for forty years.

Why did God allow Daniel to be thrown into the lion’s den because he faithfully prayed three times a day?

Life is filled with uncertainty and we don’t always get the phone call we wanted.  Wouldn’t we all like to have everything work out all the time?

Here is what we can do. This comes from one of Jesus’ talks on worry.  Actually it seems like He is having a case of ADD.  In Matthew 6 verse 25 Jesus essentially tells us that we must trust in the providence of God.

And in the middle of His talk, He says, “Look at the birds…”  Sounds like something we would say when we get distracted.  But Jesus was not distracted.  He simply wants us to realize that if God is concerned about these small creatures how much more does He love and care for us.

The birds don’t just fly around and expect food to magically appear in their nests.  They do their part.  But they are not worrying about their sustenance.

So how do we overcome our anxiety?  Simple, but not easy.

Accept that you have done all you can do.  You have gone through the interview.  You have prayed about the situation.  You took the necessary steps.

Believe that God has your best interests in mind.  Our desires are not always the best.

Commit it all to the Lord.

With that said, does that mean the anxiety will leave?  Sometimes no, because we allow uncertainty to make us anxious.

Perhaps the best way to sum it up is like Jesus did.  “Seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)  Devotion to God is a prerequisite for the peace that we long for in the midst of uncertainty.

Put God first and you will have no reason to worry.

Why worry when you can trust God?