We live in a day of much fear and anxiety. Perhaps your fear and anxiety has increased over the past few weeks because of COVID-19, but the reality is we have existed in this realm as Americans for many years. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, the most common mental illness in the U.S. are anxiety disorders, affecting nearly one in five adults every year. The New York Times cites that Americans are among the most anxious people in the world, causing us to spend over $2 billion on anti-anxiety medications every year.
To get a better handle on this issue I think it is helpful to describe, at a basic level, the difference between fear and anxiety. Simply stated, fear sees an actual threat and anxiety imagines or creates a potential threat. We have fear and anxiety because we live in a broken world. In fact, Genesis 1 ends with the statement “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.” God had just finished creation, man was in right relationship with God and there was absolutely nothing for man or woman to fear. Adam and Eve had no fears and they had no ability to imagine potential threats. Fast forward to Genesis 3 and we see that because of sin fear and anxiety are very much alive. Genesis 3:17-19 Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life. “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field; By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.” I don’t know about you, but Genesis 1 sounds like a better option to me!
The world from Genesis 3 moving forward now includes death, labors work, as well as relational strife. Because we live in a broken world we have to contend with fear and anxiety. To navigate these emotions successfully it is important to find comfort and encouragement from God’s Word. Here are a few verses that I find helpful during times of fear and anxiety:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way Psalm 139:23-24
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7
Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. John 14:27
Our Pastor writes most of the blog posts we publish, however, occasionally some of our other church leadership (some staff, some volunteer) who also contribute to the New Life blog.