During these unusual times, it’s no wonder that many people are faced with a heightened sense of anxiety. For those suffering from anxiety disorders, that sense of helplessness and uncertainty is exponentially increased. Anxiety is on the rise so much so that Time Magazine even produced a special issue focusing on it.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a heightened sense of concern or increased worry about what’s to come. A feeling of fear or apprehension about what might happen is a natural response our bodies have to stress. It’s perfectly normal to be anxious about our first day attending a new school, going to a job interview, making an important presentation, or giving a big performance. Normal, everyday anxiety is a feeling that comes and goes but doesn’t interfere with your everyday life. Feelings of dread that last longer than six months and impede your ability to live your life can point to an anxiety disorder (Healthline).
Enduring Anxiety Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic is stressful for millions of people. Fear and anxiety about what’s to come and worries about the impact of COVID-19 on our lives can be super overwhelming and bring strong emotions to the surface in adults and children. Naturally, thoughts about an infectious disease wiping out life as we know it is harrowing to think about and is the subject of horror movies. But, before you run off the cliff, take a deep breath. This isn’t the Great Zombie Apocolypse.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says that stress during the COVID-19 pandemic can include the following signs and symptoms:
- Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Worsening of mental health conditions
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
In a previous post, Beers, Bibles, and Bullets, I mentioned that America has witnessed a massive increase in the sale of alcohol and bibles as well as guns and ammo. Go figure!?!
What does the Bible say about coping with anxiety?
It may surprise you, but God’s word speaks to our anxieties. In the Gospel of Matthew, during His famed Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says this concerning our worries, fears, and anxieties:
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV)
God has given us life and a body. So it is natural to believe that He will provide what we need to maintain them. And we know that He has because our bodies function every day without us telling them to do so, at least not in the way an adult might tell a child to do something. Our bodies are phenomenal operating systems that we humans have invested a great deal of time and know-how in exploring and still don’t fully understand. We can rest with confidence in the biblical truth that God cares for His children and that the Lord will provide for their basic needs.
The COVID-19 virus, as diseases often do, is teaching us things about life and the human body that we didn’t know beforehand. One of the unexpected outcomes stemming from our struggles is that we discover things we did not know.
Another impact of a human crisis like COVID-19 is that it brings out the best or the worst in us. As I mentioned earlier, the sale of alcohol and ammo has skyrocketed as people respond to their fears or run from them altogether. Yet, others will draw closer to God during this difficult time. In addition to seeing increases in substance abuse and doomsday prepping, people are hunting for spiritual comfort found only in a nearer relationship with God.
Our physical lives matter and are important. However, this physical life is not our ultimate life. Life in this world simply serves as a training ground for a richer, closer, and deeper relationship with God.
Anxiety puts an unbalanced, unhealthy emphasis on controlling the process of providing for our own needs. It demonstrates a lack of trust in God, who promised to provide for believers. As believers, we can be confident that the Lord will not desert us and leave us stranded. In our times of need, like during a pandemic, we can turn to God and trust Him. No doubt, when we face life’s challenges, the Lord helps us build and grow in our character because we know that perseverance and endurance amid trials foster growth in our character. As Jesus followers, we experience a daily walk in a fallen world. We must not let the problems of our present life deceive us into thinking God does not care about us. We know that in Jesus Christ, God demonstrated His ultimate care for all people.
Anxiety is a symptom of what/who we have placed our trust and confidence in. The God who woke us up this morning will see us through to the other shore. When we find ourselves feeling anxious, we can turn to God and ask Him to help us stand in His strength rather than our own. It is not God’s will for our lives to succumb to our anxieties. Rather, God wants to see us overcome our fears with faith.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Remember that God loves you because He created you. The Lord has a plan and a purpose for your life. As your Creator, God has authority over you. As God, He has a right to have that authority. He wants you to trust Him with your life. He has the power to change and transform you. As you seek Him and trust Him, God will protect your mind and calm your anxieties, fears, and worries.
Lord, help us overcome our anxieties, fears, and worries. Give us Your supernatural strength to conquer the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual demons that seek to derail us and keep us from fulfilling the purpose You have called us to so that we can fulfill Your plan for our lives. Provide us with Your peace, O God, the peace that surpasses all understanding. We thank You in advance Lord for what You will do for us and through our lives. To You, God, be all the praise, honor, and glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
- Do you suffer from anxiety? How do you deal with your anxieties, fears, and worries?
- Have you trusted God with keeping your life?
- How does anxiety impact your daily life?
In addition to Scripture, those people who suffer from anxiety can reach out for help. You are not alone. Millions of people struggle with anxiety.
If your anxieties are running amuck, you can call the National Alliance on Mental Illness Hotline at 1-800-950-6264.
You can also visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness website for resources or to gain access to free, confidential assistance, 24/7.
I’m praying that during this COVID-19 pandemic you stay healthy and safe. We live in a uniquely challenging time for many people around the world. You don’t have to suffer alone. You aren’t alone. May God shine His favor on you and shower you with His love.
The Devotional Guy™
ABOUT: The Devotional Guy™ is a writing ministry of Rainer Bantau, who shepherds and ministers to hundreds of individuals in their workplaces, on the streets, and wherever he meets them.
Hunt, June (2008) Counseling Through Your Bible Handbook. Harvest House Publishers. Eugene, Oregon.
The Minister’s Bible (2007). Hendrickson Bible Publishing. Peabody, Massachusetts.
I’m super excited to announce that on Thursday, May 21, 2020, I’ll be a guest on my friend Kathryn McClatchy’s Unleashing the Next Chapter to share my insights on Blogging Essentials. Kathryn and I met several years ago when we were both serving on the Board of Directors for our local Writers Guild of Texas. She’s an advocate, coach, consultant, speaker, and writer. Even more, she’s a good friend. I hope you will jot it down in your calendar and make plans to join us.
I believe that to experience life the way God intended, you and I must receive God’s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. Through Jesus Christ, God has made this gift available to all who ask.
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Will you personally receive the gift of eternal life so that you can experience the total forgiveness from your sins that come through believing in the atoning death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ?
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.”