By Hoyt Houchen
Question: How can I deal with worry, anxiety?
Reply: Worry is a common problem and no doubt a reason that the Scriptures say so much about it. For example, Jesus taught in Matthew 6:31, “Be not therefore anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewith shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.” This is the conclusion of what Jesus had said in the previous verses about worry, or anxiety. He had shown his disciples that they should trust in God and not uncertainty. The principle is that God will provide the necessities of life if we will place confidence in him. The problem with most of us is that we given more attention to the everyday physical necessities such as food, clothing and shelter than to spiritual matters. Our Lord climaxed his teaching on worry, or anxiety, when he said: “But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (v. 33).
Paul admonished his brethren at Philippi: “In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7,8).
How do we cope with worry? How do we overcome it? Both in the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 6 and that of Paul in Philippians 4:6,7 is the solution to worry. It is trust God. Most of us make God powerless by supposing that he is not capable of ruling his universe. We take life’s situations into our own hands and forget that God has promised to supply our needs. Someone has written:
Said the Robin to the Sparrow,
“I would really like to know
Why these restless human beings
Rush about, and worry so.”
Said the Sparrow to the Robin:
“Friend, I think that it must be
That they have no Heavenly Father,
Such as cares for you and me. “
The basic cause of worry is a lack of faith in the promises of God – a failure to trust God. Our lack of faith results from not studying the word of God which supplies faith. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17).
When we trust God we will take our burdens to him in prayer. Hear Paul again: “In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Phil. 4:6). The idea is to let the things we seek be made known to God. Thanksgiving should accompany our requests – not only for the many blessings which our Heavenly Father has already bestowed upon us, but for the very privilege of being able to make our requests known. He is “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20).
We all need to stop this foolishness of worrying ourselves into nervous wrecks and remember that God is on his throne; he is capable of running his affairs; he is always accessible and he never becomes weary from our requests. When we trust in God and believe his precious promises, we will go to him in prayer. This relieves us of worry, thus giving us “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding” (Phil. 4:7). In place of being ruled by fear, worry and anxiety, our hearts and our thoughts will be guarded by “the peace of God.” This peace is another of the great promises which God will keep, if we will but trust him. Jesus told his apostles: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful” (Jn. 14:27).
Let us trust God, go to him in prayer and believe that his promises are true. It is only when we do these things that we can deal with worry, anxiety.
Guardian of Truth XXXII: 1, p. 7
January 7, 1988