It seems to me that anxiety is on the increase. If the graph of anxiety in our society was related to the stock market people would be making millions. As many articles on the topic would suggest, we are growing more anxious. Here’s a sample statement: If you’re feeling stressed, uncertain about what the future holds, or even physically unsafe, try not to panic – you’re definitely not alone. New survey results show Americans’ anxiety levels experienced a sharp increase in the past year, with almost 40 percent of respondents saying they felt more anxious than they did a year ago. My observation affirms the same. The topic surfaces so often as I discuss the personal well-being of people at New Harvest and beyond. But also fear and anxiety are big themes in the Bible. Does peace seem like the opposite of worry? Jesus told us that he came to give us peace.
Here’s one of my favorite verses about overcoming anxiety. Philippians 4:6-7 gives us one solution – pray about it: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” But this promise is connected to a certain type of prayer, in my opinion. I would call it “surrendered prayer.” The prayer of release is another way of describing it. In Matthew 11:28, Jesus promises “rest” for those who take his yoke. I think that is another way of saying it. The Gospel sets people free but we must receive it. When you open up to God’s best the possibilities are hopeful.
The leadership of our church has stated that no one at New Harvest should feel hopeless because of fear. One of our primary desires is to help people overcome their fears. I think fear is at the core of why we feel anxious. If fear were eliminated then I believe anxiety would be too. I have a new prayer emphasis for me and for our church family – help us experience true freedom as we surrender ourselves to the Lord. In other words, “Cast all your cares upon Him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) My son, Tyler, has a helpful Podcast on the topic. You can find it with this link — http://manofdepravity.com/