The Root of Worry
Worry is the timid sister to anxiety, and anxiety, when left unchecked, is the steady path to panic and all kinds of "diagnosable" conditions. Disorders that are rooted in anxiety include Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Specific Phobias, to name only a few. These are labels that the scientific community has given these anxiety-based conditions. The world would have us believe that anxiety is genetic and therefore outside of our control, requiring the need for "treatment" (e.g., medication and/or secular counseling methods). However, despite ongoing efforts to prove a biological/genetic basis for anxiety, we have yet to find any evidence that this is true and so it continues to remain a "theory."
Anxiety is just a fancy clinical term for fear. Worry and anxiety are based in fear of an outcome that is unknown to us. What does God have to say about this fear that seems to frustrate and often cripple so many people on a daily basis?
"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand." Isaiah 41:10
"The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" Psalm 27:1
"The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?" Psalm 118:6
It looks like God commands us not to be afraid. Seems easier said than done though, doesn't it? So how do we "fear not?"
First, we have to start with understanding some basic theology. Scripture tells us that God is sovereign. According to Webster's dictionary, sovereign means "supreme in power; possessing supreme dominion; as a sovereign ruler of the universe." Consider the following verses that describe how God is completely in control. Matter of fact, there isn't any thing in the universe that doesn't happen either because God causes it directly or He gives it permission to pass through His fingers. Even Satan seeks God's permission to act upon the earth (Job 1:12).
"Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps." Psalm 135:6
"Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish." Isaiah 46:10
God knows and has the power to control everything that happens in our lives. He is never surprised by anything we are facing. We can't see around the corner, yet God knows what awaits us. Not only does He know, He has the absolute power and ultimate say over all of our circumstances. Now you may be asking yourself the question that people have asked throughout the ages, "If God is sovereign AND good, why does He allow evil and suffering?" We'll save that topic for another blog post, but both are simultaneously true, God is good and He allows evil and suffering.
Our degree of peace and joy within suffering is completely dependent upon our relationship with God. Scripture doesn't say that if we have a relationship with God, we won't experience evil and suffering, rather it tells us that no one is immune. According to Matthew 5:45,
"For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust."
Yet, God makes promises to those that belong to Him. Romans 8:28 says,
"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."
Just as Isaiah 41:10 above states, "Don't be discouraged, for I am your God." If we have not surrendered control of our lives over to Him, we cannot say that He is our God, in a personal sense. God is still God whether we accept His will in our lives or not. Yet, we can only have the peace that God offers if we, indeed, belong to Him.
Belonging to Him means that we have surrendered our lives (wills and desires) to Him. We live our lives in such a way that we can say, I want what God wants more than I want what I want. When we live with this mindset, we can boldly stand with the Apostle Paul and say,
"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31
God's will is always accomplished. It cannot be shaken or stopped by any power in heaven or on earth. Does having this knowledge instantly evaporate every worry? No. Just as any relationship takes time to develop, your relationship with God is a process, whereby you grow in your trust in Him. As you grow in knowledge of who God is and His tremendous love for you, you'll grow in peace. Begin to uproot worry by seeking to know God today.