They say (whoever “they” are) that more people are more afraid of public speaking than they are of snakes. And it doesn’t make any sense. I mean, you never hear of someone walking through the woods and suddenly shouting, “Watch out! A podium!”
There are a lot of things that may make us feel anxious. We know anxiety when we feel it, that sense of inner turmoil, often with nervous behavior thrown in. Or perhaps it is a feeling of dread over something unlikely to happen, or just a general feeling of fear and worry that is hard to pinpoint.
We live in an anxious world full of anxious people. Abraham Lincoln once said, “We live in the midst of alarms; anxiety beclouds the future; we expect some new disaster with each newspaper we read.” Apparently, not much has changed since Honest Abe’s day. Folks deal with anxiety in their daily lives in many ways: meditation, exercise, hypnosis, and/or anti-anxiety medication. But regardless of the approach chosen to deal with anxiety, consider what the Bible has to say.
“In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.” (Psalm 94:19) Clearly, the psalmist is having some anxiety issues. I have to wonder what had him or her all wound up. Maybe the weather was lousy, too hot and dry for too long and the crops were in jeopardy. Maybe things were not going so well on the home front. Maybe any of a number life’s struggles we face even nowadays: finances, relationships, employment, family, health issues, you name it.
It is likely that we will all experience anxiety to some degree throughout our lives for one or a number of reasons. According to the psalmist, the anxieties we feel come from within us and not from what is around us, that is, our internal response to external circumstances.
So what is the prescription for handling life’s anxieties? The psalmist recommends “know the comforts of the Lord!” You’ll find them in the Bible, maybe in some favorite verses that resonate with us that we keep in our heart to recall later during anxious times. Search the scriptures and you can find comfort for your soul. Start by taking a glance at the concordance (a fancy word for topical index) in the back of your Bible if it has one, or ask your pastor. I am sure that he or she would be more than glad to offer some guidance. Besides, any occasion for cracking open the Good Book is necessarily a good thing!
So you know, I have no issue at all with medication, which certainly helps a lot of people cope with anxiety and stress. And other means of dealing with anxiety may also be effective. But it is worthwhile to illuminate a modern-day problem with the light of God’s Word. Imagine that!
Thanks be to God.