What Needless Pain We Bear

I hate to admit it, but I am an anxious person. When there is uncertainty, I am often filled with anxiety and fear. I always want the future to be crystal clear. It makes me uncomfortable and nauseous when the path is narrow and I am unable to see what lies ahead. Being a Christian, I’m always reminded and convicted by God that anxiety is foolish since God is in control, and I am His child.

When I feel the ground crumbling beneath my feet, the passage I often run to is Matthew 6, where our Lord says:

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? 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?

God Sustains Creation

Whenever I walk outside, I do not see birds falling from the sky. As I walk to my car, I do not have to step over bird carcasses. The Lord provides for His creation; He is our caretaker. Our Lord provides for birds that are infinitesimal in value compared to humans. How much more will He provide for His own children? There is no reason for us to be anxious if we are children of the living God.

Non-Christians are Anxious

The only people who have the right to be anxious are non-Christians. They do not believe God is in control, so they worry for their future. If I did not believe in Christ, then it is only natural for me to be anxious. After all, what is the basis for non-Christians to have peace? In the Christian life, the hope for peace is always rooted in the Word of God. Anxiety is permitted only for non-Christians, not for those who believe in the promises of God.

Anxiety Reveals Unbelief

Anxiety also reveals our lack of trust in the character of God. If we believe that God loves us and does not withhold any good thing from us, what do we have to be anxious about? Any situation or circumstance that comes our way is ordained and controlled by the living God. He will use it all for our good, and ultimately it is meant to draw us into His arms.

Hezekiah’s Anxiety

I do not want anything in this life that God does not want for me. If it is not God’s will, I do not want it. King Hezekiah is a great example of a man who pushed for something that was not good for him. He feared death and wanted to live longer in this world, so He pleaded and pleaded with God. The Lord answered his prayer and extended his life. Yet, the extended life he lived was terrible for the nation of Israel! The worst thing God can do to a human is letting him have his own way. God’s plan is better than anything we can come up with…

Saved from Hell

At the end of the day, we should always be anxiety-free because we have been saved from eternal damnation. If you have accepted Christ through faith, you will never see or experience Hell. The closest we will ever be to that place is the suffering we go through in this life. Joni Erickson Tada, a quadriplegic and cancer survivor says it this way:

Suffering is like a little splash-over of hell, reminding us of what Christ rescued us from—like a tiny taste of what life could be like for all of eternity, were it not for God’s graciousness.

She goes on to say, what is the splash over of Heaven? Is it when life is a breeze and things are going your way? No, it is when you find Jesus present in your splash-over of Hell. Even in our suffering and pain, Jesus is there! If the Lord has redeemed you, what do you really have to be anxious about? No matter what happens, you can say, “It is well with my soul,” and “I have Jesus.”

Response to Anxiety

It is easy to grasp this conceptually, but applying it is another task altogether. What is our response when we are flooded with anxiety and fear? A hymnist put it well:

O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Take all the worry and anxiety you have to the Lord. I cry out to God when I am afraid, and He reminds me of His promises. We cast all our anxieties on Him, because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). As Christians, we have the privilege of coming before the Lord and casting it all on Him.

In the midst of our circumstances, we must always remember that God is in control and we are His children. Even though we may not know what the future holds, we know who holds our future. He is the ruler over creation, and He provides for His creatures. He has rescued us from Hell and He is transforming us into His image. He gives us the privilege as His children to lay all our anxieties before Him. Why then do we allow ourselves to be anxious?