Increasingly, we are becoming a society of worriers. The Gospel recording family group, “The Winans”, recorded a song titled “Bring Back the Day of Yea and Nay”. In this song, there is a line that says, “I remember when life was so easy”. The song reflects a time of simplicity, that was unaccompanied by stress and worry. The innocence of childhood in its unawareness of actual existential concerns, seem to dissipate, fading into the shadows of anxiety as we become more aware of potential threats to our livelihood. Because of this lack of care free living, most of us find ourselves worrying our lives away. According to an article in the October, 2009 issue of the New York Times Magazine, anxiety is the most common mental illness in America, as approximately 40 million adults are affected by it. This figure also correlates to the amount of stress related deaths in America, such as heart attacks and strokes.
Anxiety is distinguished from fear in that fear is the result of a present danger that can be avoided by flight. In phobias, the avoidance of the stimulus in thought and presence will keep a person away from the emotion of fear. In fear, there is an awareness of the potential threat and that awareness will causes escape. On the other hand, anxiety is related to situations that are unconceivable and uncontrollable. Whereas fear is an emotion occurring from an immediate danger, anxiety is the result of uncontrollable thought of a negative future outcome. The Bible tells us in Matthew 6:34 (KJV) “take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof”. In spite of this command of God, we allow our minds to ruminate on thoughts of a prefabricated disastrous ending for our life challenges.
When our anxieties are not given to God, they can develop into excessive and exaggerated worry. Worry will ultimately consume our character and personality, affecting our social and spiritual existence. In Philippians 4:6 (NIV), we are instructed not to worry. It says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God”. The word “anxious” is translated from the original Greek text of the Bible, the word merimnao, which means to be distracted and drawn in a different direction. It also suggests a change in that it is related to our English word “marinate”. Worrying causes us to marinate in our challenges until we obtain the very essence of what we are worrying about. The Word of God tells us to cast all of our cares upon Him, because He cares for us. Our life is in His Hand and it is Him who holds our future. We can only trust Him to work it out, thus taking away the stress and worry from us. Pastor Williams welcomes questions or comments at [email protected].