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What to do with your Anxiety.

No anxiety, Friend. . . God’s got you. 

I wonder as I wonder why God said some of the things he did.

Having read the Bible since I was a little girl, I have oft wondered why God said Do not be afraid so many times. I do not wonder any more. Since March of 2020, fears of different sorts have taken center stage, and for many of us, they have stayed there. We find ourselves anxious about many things, and that, on a worldwide scale.

Yet, our great God, our good God, spoke to us many times about not being afraid. 

The Puritans who escaped the repressive persecution of England to worship freely in the Netherlands and then pressed on to the New World penned some beautiful prayers. In Piercing Heavenprayers of the Puritans, one line screamed off the page at me from this morning prayer: "As you have now awakened my body from sleep, so, I beg you, awaken my soul from sin and from worldly security."1 Awaken my soul from worldly security. Wow, did that resonate with me!

There is no reason for the Christian to be afraid if our security is not in this world or what is going on around us. Our security must always be in Jesus Christ alone!

Once again, I look at my brother and mentor Paul the apostle who knows he is nearing the end of his ministry and earthly life. Before the Jews activate an assassination attempt while he is still being held in Jerusalem, the Lord comes to speak to Paul at night, which Luke records for us.

. . .the Lord stood near Paul and said, "Take courage!"

As you have testified about Me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.2 

Did you catch it? "Take not be afraid." Jesus tells Paul that this would not be the end of the road for him. . . he would go on to represent Jesus Christ in Rome. Imagine the validation Paul must have felt­­ ‘as you have testified about Me in Jerusalem, so in Rome. . .'  The Lord was affirming the work of Paul's hands, an answer to the prayer of Psalm 90.17. [May the favor of the Lord rest upon me - confirm and establish the work of my hands] It is the believer's prayer to one day hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant.4 Paul got a sneak preview of that day.

"Take courage," words meant to encourage, inspire and embolden, coupled with, "do not be afraid." Over and over, throughout the Old Testament, God told his children not to be afraid. Why? Because He was with them. David wrote, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil..." Why? "for You are with me.5 God's presence assures and comforts us­­ we have no need to fear. 

"Take courage," yes, take a hold of it, be courageous, for you are not alone; the Lord your God is with you, and He is mighty to save6, and what's more, his heart is so tender toward you, he wants you not to live in fear. Rest your case with him.

'But, but am I wrestling with fear or anxiety--and by the way, what's the difference?' you ask.

Yes, what is anxiety, and how is it related to fear and what are we supposed to do with it? Interestingly enough, my minister at church has been doing a series on fear during this Lenten season, and this past Sunday, addressed anxiety.

"Well if fear is what you experience when you see a lion in the bushes, anxiety is what you experience when you wonder if there might be a lion in the bushes. Fear is our response to something definite, anxiety is our response to the indefinite and the uncertain. While fear has to do with what's happening in the present, anxiety

has to do with what might happen in the future."7 Anxiety is normal because we do not know the future, yet we want to control it. Hmmm... and yet we know the One who holds the future in his hands.

Hold on to these words of his:

>Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear. Luke 12.7 

And Jesus also says, Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? Lk. 12.14 Now listen to this--in my Everyday Bible, I just read in the book of Deuteronomy the animals the Jewish people were allowed to eat and forbidden to eat; ravens were specifically named as unclean,8 and yet, God even sees that they are fed, Jesus singling them out.

And how I love this exchange!

>Jesus turning and seeing a sick woman said to her, "Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well." At once the woman--who had lunged to try desperately to touch the hem of Jesus' garment was made well. Matthew 9.22. I want that kind of faith! The unnamed woman has been a hero of mine for almost four decades.

What a tender Father we have. . . who wants us to fully trust in Him and his love for us. Resting there, we need not be anxious about the unknown--that which lies out of our control; we need not, indeed we must not, be gripped by fear. 

Your security is in the Lord alone. In Him, ALL IS WELL; listen to this beautiful song by Carrie Underwood and Michael W. Smith:

TAKE COURAGE. . . God’s got yourest in him.


1 - Piercing Heaven, Prayers of the Puritans. Robert Elmer, Editor, Lexham Press, p. 253-prayer by Lewis Bayly

2 - Acts 23.11

3 - Psalm 90.17 - May the favor of the Lord rest up on you, confirm and establish the work of your hands. Yes, confirm and establish the work of your hands.

4 - Matthew 25.23

5 - Psalm 23.4

6 - Zephaniah 3.17

7 - Dr. John W. Yates III, Holy Trinity Anglican Church, March 10, 2024

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