Today has been a day…and not a good one…
I feel like everything is just against me today: time, others, the enemy…
A universal conspiracy to ruin my life at the young, young age of 28…
Then, how selfish am I that I think the universe would have a vendetta against me?
Well, that’s what anxiety does to you. It has an answer for everything, a worst-case-scenario response to every little thing that goes wrong in life:
Paper work issue with the state? You’ll never get your business off the ground.
Client issue at work handled ethically, legally, and appropriate for work environment? Somehow, this is going to blow up at you & you’ll lose everything now and forever!
Heater out or check engine light on in your car? This is going to cost you thousands of dollars you don’t have & you’re going to end up not having a way to work, lose your job, and be poor forever.
Feeling a little ill? You’re dying. You won’t make it through this, it’s probably cancer…
See, this is what anxiety does. So, maybe it doesn’t always go that extreme, but sometimes it absolutely does. And, with an anxiety disorder affecting about 18% of the US adult population (NAMI), I know I am not alone.
Sometimes, people turn it into a question of my faith…Maybe it’s not strong enough, or I don’t believe enough.
But, here’s the thing, I’m going to argue, that, just maybe, it’s stronger than imagined.
I read an article today with “verses to get you through a hard week”, and each one was about God’s protection, provision, hand on His people.
I absolutely believe my God loves His people, that Christ died for my sins on the cross, and that I can live an abundant life in Christ, as His word says…
But, there’s a flip side to faith.
And, If I am going to believe in a Loving God, I have to believe in a righteous God, one who seeks His glory in all things. I have to believe in a God who:
Turned Adam & Eve from the garden after the fall.
Destroyed the world with a flood.
Asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac (yes, here, he provided a way out).
Allowed Jacob to be the cause of strife between two sisters & allowed Leah to be unloved for the entirety of her marriage.
Allowed Joseph to be sold, enslaved, and then jailed for at least 2 years.
His anger burned against Moses & He hardened Pharaoh’s heart.
Let the Israelites wander the desert for 40 years.
Let Hannah weep for many years.
Let Samson be destroyed in destroying his enemies.
Let His nation be split before finally being exiled.
Allowed Daniel to be thrown in a lion’s den & Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to be thrown into the fire.
Job was stripped of everything. Every.Single.Thing. (Approved by God, carried out by the enemy)
This is also the God I serve. He let his people go through these things.
Did He bring honor and glory in each situation? Absolutely.
Did He ever leave those who he called? Absolutely not.
“Your examples are all from the Old Testament, though”, you may say.
Ok, how about: Let his disciples be tormented, hunted, & executed?
Christ told us that we would have troubles in the world. He didn’t sugar coat it or pretend to only be a God of happy prosperity 24/7:
“I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But, take heart! I have overcome the world” – John 16:33
You see, I know what this verse says. I know that it follows up a conversation with Jesus and His Disciples about pain & joy. He knew they were experiencing anxiety in that moment. And, He told them the best truth He could: your peace is in me, and even in the troubling times, you can have peace in me. Because, there will be troubling times.
As for those troubling times coming to an end while we’re still on earth?
Death. It’s still a thing.
False Accusations. Still happen.
Good people losing everything, finding their life in ruin. This happens too.
Unfortunately, even God’s people can experience trial after trial.
So, my experience of anxiety does not point to a lack of faith, but a momentary, overwhelming remembrance of the identity of the God I serve.
It’s also an opportunity to express my faith greatly. That, even when the anxiety wants to take over, I still praise. I still worship. I still trust. I. Still. Believe.
Not for my own sake, but for His Glory, regardless of the outcome for me.