The God of love and peace will be with you.
2 Corinthians 13:11
To the Anxious
Scott Stossel is a highly respected journalist. He is a graduate of Harvard. His abilities and work ethic have brought him to the point where he now serves as editor of The Atlantic magazine. Those who work with him have often observed how he is able to display a calm demeanor, especially in times of crisis.
It came as quite a shock to many of his colleagues, therefore, when Stossel wrote a book entitled, My Age of Anxiety. In his book, Stossel confesses that extreme anxiety often grips him. He writes, “On ordinary days, doing ordinary things—reading a book, lying in bed, talking on the phone, sitting in a meeting, playing tennis—I have thousands of times been stricken by a pervasive sense of…dread.”
After the book’s release, it became clear that Stossel was not alone. My Age of Anxiety spent weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Its popularity only confirmed what others were saying. Psychology Today has called anxiety “one of our modern plagues.” A recent report estimates that some 40 million adult Americans suffer from anxiety disorders, with almost 7 million suffering a level of anxiety characterized by “persistent, excessive, and unrealistic worry about everyday things.”
For many of us, this is not news. For many of you, severe anxiety—anxiety over past regrets, present problems, future outcomes—threatens to grip you every day.
What to do with such worry? What to do with such dread and so much fear?
First of all, confess to the Lord. Confess to the Lord that severe anxiety is a temptation into which you can often fall. Remember that Jesus died for your every sin—including your sins of worry. Take a deep breath. Bask in his forgiveness.
Then, rest on his promises. “The God of…peace will be with you,” Paul wrote. In Psalm 139, David reminds us that our God of peace is in front of us, behind us, around us. His right hand “holds [us] fast.”
When anxious thoughts trouble you deeply, look intently to your Savior God, who is your peace permanently.
Lord Jesus, so often I give in to anxiety. Forgive me. Wash me in your blood. Surround me in your peace. Empower me to trust in you, my Savior. Amen.