Have you ever had one of those moments when you wake up in the middle of the night startled, heart racing, head sweating, and that complete uneasy feeling? That happened to me earlier this week. You see I was awoken by this incredibly loud rattling noise coming from the breaker box in my bedroom wall. So, what any logical person at 3:30am I automatically assume that my apartment is going to blow up at any given minute. In my panic state, I wake up a roommate to come listen to the borderline exploding breaker box, and guess what…not a sound. She went back to bed as did I and my mind went into an endless race. I thought of all the things that was currently going on in my life. Everything I was struggling with, everything my friends were struggling with and I was unaware how to help them, I was stressing over choices I had made and how they might impact me in the future. All the while I was hearing the tick, tick, tick, of the noise in my wall (or at this point I thought maybe it was in my head) all accumulating to the
completely logical (Laugh. Out. Loud.) conclusion that at some point during the night my apartment would blow up. (Come to find out a day later it was a bat trapped inside the wall…)
After about 30 minutes of this cycle a verse I had written on a sticky note earlier came to my mind. So over and over my heart began to exclaim, “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:14). Finally I fell back asleep. The next day with the help of a dear friend, not at 3am, I sat down and logically processed the root of my panic attacks.
Often when the world, especially the Christian world, hears Anxiety we automatically assume, “Oh that person needs to have a stronger faith”, or “They must not be praying enough about things”, I could go on with this, I think you follow. But what we are all fearful to admit, or maybe even open our eyes to realize is that every single person struggles with anxiety in some sort of shape or form, rather big, or small. We are human, we have fears, we have doubts, we have struggles. And to go a little deeper I found this truth encouraging….you know all the amazing people we hear about God using throughout the Bible…yeah they had anxieties too!
One of my favorites is Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 15-22). We all know Abraham as being God’s chosen one, The Father of Many Nations. God promised Abraham and Sarah a son that would fulfill His many promises (Genesis 15:3-6). I’m sure at the beginning Abraham and Sarah were both passionately trusting God’s timing, waiting, praying, fasting, and anxiously expecting God to come through. But then after time passes their anxieties set in too, they got tired of the waiting also, just like the rest of us do. Actually it tells us in Genesis 17:17 that Abraham laughed when God told him He was still going to fulfill His promise. So naturally in our sinful nature they decided to take things into their own hands and Abraham had a child with their servant woman Hagar. Now this created a whole slew of problems for the whole crew. Abraham now had a son with a woman whom wasn’t his wife (which was completely legal back then), Sarah had a whole big mess of insecurities (as many of us I’m sure could imagine), and poor Hagar was left stranded in the desert alone with her son, that has now been abandoned by his father. But wait because this is the best part…
God enters the mess, and shows nothing but grace.
God still gave Abraham and Sarah their own son Isaac, who did indeed became the Father of many nations which eventually led to the genealogy of Jesus himself. God still used Abraham into the Promise Land with abundant blessings as promised. And God also took care of Hagar and Ishmael providing them with abundant blessings beyond their wildest dreams (Genesis 17:20).
So what is our takeaway from Abraham and Sarah?
- No matter how much faith we have, we will always face moments of doubt, frustration, and anxieties of trusting God’s word and His promises to us. John 16:33 says, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” It doesn’t say if you have tribulation it says you will have tribulation. (Also see 1 Peter 4:12; James 1:2-8; James 1:12, Romans 12:12)
- God uses messy, anxious people to fulfill His plans. We will never be able to mess up so much that God won’t use us to fulfill His divine purpose.“He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace” (2 Timothy 1:9). (Also see Romans 8:28)
- We all have anxieties and worries, but God has already provided us with a solution no matter how big, how small, or how many. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:6-7. (Also see Luke 12:24-34; Matthew 11:28-30; Matthew 6:25-34; Psalm 34:4)
Anxiety is not of God, but of the enemy and it can only have as much power as we allow it to have. We ourselves can allow it to control us, control our thoughts, our actions, our relationships, or we can take control by speaking truth in the promises that God has given us all, because He promises us that His word will NEVER come back empty (Isaiah 55:11).