We all at times face issues that cause anxiety. Does the Bible tell us how to deal with anxiety? The people of Israel had miraculously left slavery in Egypt and traveled over a year to reach the border of the Promised Land. But returning spies gave a discouraging report. “The land is good but the inhabitants are too strong for us.” Joyful anticipation turned to such deep discouragement that soon a movement formed to return to Egypt! However, two of the spies took a different approach. They had seen what the others had seen of the land, but they had a higher view. They said, “The Lord … will lead us into that land … and will give it to us. Do not be afraid of them!”1
Look To The Power of God
The principle here and in other biblical passages is, look away from the problems that bring anxiety and focus on the power of God!
Later in Israel’s history their king Jehoshaphat heard a formidable army was coming against them. Jehoshaphat was alarmed, but determined to seek God’s help. He called all the people together and prayed this prayer. “We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you!” God worked such a miracle that the enemy was defeated without a battle! 2
One day a crowd of thousands gathered to hear Jesus. As night drew on Jesus’ disciples suggested they send the people away to get something to eat. Jesus said, “They don’t need to leave. You feed them!” One of the disciples reported, “We have here only five loaves and two fish, but what are they among so many?” Notice, in the presence of the Creator of the world, the disciples resorted to the natural human tendency to look at the problem instead of to the Creator! Jesus took that little lunch and multiplied it to feed thousands with all they could eat and have some left over! He taught us to look away from the problems that bring anxiety and focus on the power of God!
Fear and Anxiety
Later that night the disciples were in a little rowboat on the lake when a furious storm threatened to swamp them. As they bailed water and rowed with all their strength, they saw Jesus walking toward them on the water. Supposing Jesus to be a ghost added fear to their anxiety until Jesus spoke and revealed Himself. Peter decided to challenge this “ghost” and said, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to You on the water.” Jesus replied, “Come!” and Peter stepped out and walked on water – until He took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink. Jesus reached down and rescued him with the quiet reprimand, “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Again, the principle is illustrated, Look away from the problems that bring anxiety and focus on the power of God!
This principle is so powerfully stated in the book of Hebrews which invites us to look to Jesus to solve our challenges. It suggests this is the principle that enabled Jesus to be victorious over a greater anxiety than any other human will ever be called to face. He endured the agony of the cross weighed down with the burden of all the sins of the world. Jesus looked above the present problem to the glorious result of always looking to the power of God’s amazing plan.4
1Read the story in Numbers 13 and 14
22 Chronicles 20
3Matthew 14, Mark 6, Luke 9, John 6
Walk with me into a dimly lit room where Vijaya, an Ultimate Mission health worker, is caring for a young boy who is lying on blankets on the floor. His arms and legs are contorted, and he looks as if he has lain there for days.