Anxiety can be deeply troubling, not only for the victims but also for their loved ones. It is especially challenging, particularly for Christians who are often told that anxiety is a sign of a lack of trust in God. When anxiety isn’t addressed, it can begin to affect your daily actions. It can also leave you with scars. First Corinthians 10:13 tells us, “God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability,” but it can still be difficult to trust God when anxiety is weighing your heart down. Scripture references anxiety a great deal, even though the word itself isn’t used often. Some versions of scripture references the word, other versions do not use the word directly. Other words like distress, heaviness, trouble and care are otherwise used.
Several Bible verses appear to speak to the causes of anxiety. One Bible character we may be able to learn from is Jacob, whose story is referenced in the book of Genesis. His anxiety appears to be a result of a damaged relationship and a guilty conscience. Other examples in the Bible point to anxiety being fueled by things like unfulfilled desire, deep concern and fear of death, to name a few.
The Bible tells us that there are some situations where anxiety occurs because of sin. One example can be found in Matthew 8:23-27, which says, “And when He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, ‘Save us, Lord; we are perishing.’ And He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?’ Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, ‘What sort of man is this, that even winds and the sea obey him?'” In this instance, when the disciples became distressed during a storm, Jesus rebukes them due to their lack of faith. He then rebukes the waves and the wind. This Bible passage reveals that we don't have a thing to fear as long as we are walking with Jesus.
It’s also important to note that anxiety isn’t always a result of sin. Paul states in 1 Corinthians 7:32 that an unmarried man is anxious about pleasing God. On the other hand, a married man is anxious about pleasing his wife. In this case, anxiety is a result of deep concern, not sinful fear.
Most of us will struggle with anxiety at some point in our lives. You may even be dealing with an anxious soul right now. There are so many things taking place in our world now that can make us feel troubled, anxious and fearful. Thankfully, there are several passages that we can turn to when anxiety takes hold of our lives. One of those passages is Luke 12:22-36, which says, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens. They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn, yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you, by worrying, can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” This passage reminds us that the Lord takes care of the big things and the little things. When we’re anxious, it can cause us to get so worked up that our problems feel like they are bigger than they are. When we cast our cares on God, we can completely trust in His wisdom.
Another great book to turn to when you’re dealing with anxiety is the book of Psalms. King David, who wrote the book of Psalms, was writing during a season of trouble. Psalm 27:1 says, “The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?” This passage speaks to the fact that the Lord was David’s light and salvation. God brought light to David’s life. While he could despair in darkness, he didn’t despair in it. David’s life was filled with the Lord, and light-filled his life. Another great passage is Psalm 46:1, which says, “God is our refuge and strength, a present help in time of trouble.” When scripture refers to God as a safe haven, it tells us that God can protect us from all things. Ultimately, we don’t need to fear people or situations that threaten our well-being. This includes situations that are physical and spiritual in nature. No situation we may face in this life that is outside of the control of God. We can counter all anxiety with God.
We often think about the book of Revelation when it comes to the end times and the Second Coming, but some passages speak to letting go of fear. Revelation 1:17 says, “Then [Jesus] placed His right hand on me and said: Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last." This is a reminder for so many of us who are anxious today. Fear is something we all experience, but it doesn’t glorify God. The gospels tell us that the disciples were often frightened, expressing panic, anxiety and worry. Thankfully, the Lord always comes through in the right moments, like when he said, “fear not.” This is something we are called to do as well.
The best way to deal with anxiety is by turning to the Bible and trusting the Lord. You can begin doing this by immersing yourself in the Word. The more time you spend reading and engaged in scripture, the more you will uncover the truth. While it’s hard to combat anxiety, believing God is in control can make way for it to no longer paralyze you.