We live in an imperfect world. A world that is consumed by sin and Godless acts. A world in which people find themselves pitted against themselves, their neighbors, the environment, and even God Most High. It is a world in which Satan stalks and casts deep, dark shadows that cause fear and heightened concerns even in those who are strong in faith.

One may experience stretches of peace and relative tranquility. Unfortunately, these welcomed periods of time are often interrupted with unwelcome circumstances that we have no power over. The death of a loved one. A frightening diagnosis. A financial setback. A relationship in need of serious repair. A global pandemic disrupting every aspect of life.

The circumstances are endless, and the frequency can be destabilizing. As wave after wave of issues arise and crash into our life, stress, worry, and anxiety take shape. It can be debilitating and even paralyzing.

Regardless of the source of anxiety that you may be facing today, or the events sure to ripple through your life in the horizon, we – children of God – are extremely lucky. Unlike those consumed by the secular world, as well as those who do not know Jesus Christ as Lord and savior, the Bible offers followers of Christ simple, yet profound, advice to attack our worries.

ADMIT YOUR FEARS

Like acknowledging our sins, Christians are tasked with being honest with themselves and admitting what it is that they are genuinely concerned about. Once we can identify and articulate our source of worry, we can then bring that concern to God Almighty who is always willing, ready, and able to listen to all His children.

Paul wrote that we should talk to the Father constantly about everything through prayer. These prayers need not be focused entirely on the positive things we are eager to share but should include those issues that we (sometimes) have a problem admitting to ourselves since they fester in the recesses of our minds.

God the Father wants to hear everything that is on our heart, the good and the not-so-good. Concerning the source of our worries, we should feel confident in coming to God to discuss those fears that are easy to admit (like a child’s illness or a lost job), those that are embarrassing to confess (like the fallout from a dumb mistake or consequence of a wrong choice), and those that we may not even understand (like the cause of lost sleep or panic attacks).

Prayer involves speaking (or journaling) to God in an honest, heart-felt manner. Paul knew that the more time we spend with God, the greater He becomes in our lives. The greater He becomes to us, the smaller our problems seem.

Once we identify our fears and prayerfully admit them to the One who already knows what is bothering us, we can then ask for strength and action.

ASK FOR ACTION

The Bible is filled with examples of people who asked God to intervene in a specific situation. Sometimes He chose to act immediately in a clear, dramatic manner. At other times, the help that was sought was not provided as a person would have liked but instead a greater purpose was at play – one that mortal beings may not have been privy to.

Jesus Himself asked His Father to take away His cup of suffering. He knew, however, that enduring the cross would bring about a greater good: our redemption. That is why Jesus’ most anxious prayer included the words, “Yet, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39)

Elsewhere in scripture, the Apostle Paul wrote “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Like a child who asks a loving parent to meet his or her need, we can boldly ask our Heavenly Father to act. At times, He will give us what we request immediately. At other times, He may have something even better in the works. It is important to remember that we cannot expect God to act in a certain way when we ask for action. We need to avoid leaning onto our own understandings, and trust whole heartedly in God and acknowledge Him and His wisdom in all things.

GIVE THANKS

In addition to asking God for His righteous help, we can overcome the burdens of the world by changing our mindset and prayerfully giving thanks. It is practically impossible for one to feel truly thankful and discontent at the same moment. Something powerful occurs when we give thanks, especially when we originally may not feel grateful for a situation.

In giving thanks, one forces him or herself to look for the silver lining, to consider what he or she does have, to see how he or she is absolutely loved by the great I Am.  Stress, worry, and anxiety rob us of this joy as they focus our hearts and minds on what is wrong or missing.

When we are in the midst of the most troubling and challenging of situations, Paul suggested in his writings that we should always give thanks for at least three things.

One, we should give thanks for what He has done. He has given us life. He has met our needs. He paid the penalty for our sins and gave us the hope of eternal life. Thank Him for these and the many other blessings of life. Two, we should give thanks for what He is doing. We know that He is able to use the present circumstances in ways that we may not see. Give thanks for what He is doing in the world and what He is doing in us. And three, give thanks for what He will do. Give thanks for what God will do in coming days, confident that He will work all things together for our ultimate good.

THE PEACE OF GOD

The peace of God is similar to the grace of God. It is something that we do not deserve or earn but is freely given to us. His peace is provided to us and all we must do is openly seek it. We do not only pray because we know God can change our circumstances. We also pray because doing so changes our perspective. In Paul’s words, the peace of God – which transcends all understanding – will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.

Spending time with God, honestly admitting our fears to Him, asking Him to act, while thanking Him for the immeasurable blessings we experience fosters a mysterious peace.

Stress, anxiety, and worry nurture internal and external conflict. They are divisive and are some of Satan’s tools to achieve his ultimate goal of separating us from God and His love.

Prayer, on the other hand, guards us. Praying can calm our heart as we sense God’s loving care and provide a clear mind as we remember that God is much, much bigger than our circumstances.