Are you facing a giant of some kind today? Relationship difficulties, financial hardship, legal problems, job loss, health problems, or financial stress. How do you fight the giants of worry, fear and anxiety so you can grasp God’s peace?
“Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me…”
Peace. One of the things I affectionately refer to as “the intangibles.” Like joy, and trust, and rest. The intangibles: the things we long to grasp but we are left perhaps never fully grasping their reality this side of heaven.
As I sat in the waiting room a week before Thanksgiving, awaiting surgery for the cancer that had been diagnosed a few weeks prior, I recalled one of my first thoughts once the shock of the diagnosis had worn off: “I can either allow worry, fear, and anxiety to rule, or I can trust God and live in His peace.”
Peace is a gift.
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27).
Yes, peace is a gift, but in order for us to benefit from that gift, we must choose to receive it. A gift has no inherent value to the intended recipient if they reject the offer.
As I sat, waiting for the foreigner that had invaded my body to be removed in surgery, I considered my options.
I could worry about how long the cancer had been there.
Yet, Scripture says, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). Furthermore, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:13-14). This didn’t take God by surprise. He knows every part of me.
I could be afraid of the future.
Yet, Scripture encourages, “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8). If God goes before me, and He is my provider, then He has already set into motion the very things I will need for when I need them. I won’t walk into the future alone or ill-equipped.
I could allow myself to indulge in anxiety about the impact of treatment.
Yet again, as I thought about that, I reminded myself that Scripture says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for a future and a hope.” God already knows what’s coming, and His plans are good, and not to harm me.
Worry, fear, and anxiety have no place in the life of a Christian, not when He came to give us peace. The question that it comes back to is, “Are we going to believe the lies of the enemy, or the truth of God’s word which has stood the test of time?”
Worry, fear, and anxiety exclude God from the solution to our concerns. Instead, God wants to be our guide.
In the past, He has guided His people by a star, by a fire at night, a pillar of cloud by day, by a vision or in a dream, spoke through a burning bush. He created the universe. He gave word through angels. He saved Noah and his family from the flood. He wrote on the wall. He parted the Red Sea. He provided sufficient manna in the wilderness. He fed the hungry 5000 with basketfuls left over. He rescued Johah from a fish and a maritime disaster. He protected Daniel in the lion’s den and protected Daniel’s three friends from the fire. He made a shepherd boy a king. He healed the sick and raised the dead. He died and three days later rose again. If He did all that, why would we ever doubt His care and provision for us?
Every miracle in the Bible first started off as an impossible, insurmountable problem. Yet they give us opportunity after opportunity to recognize God’s faithfulness.
The enemy brings a spirit of fear on us.
From his very first interaction with humankind, the enemy tempted Adam and Eve with fear. God takes care of the flowers of the field and the birds of the air, why would we ever believe He won’t care for us even more?
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other…That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear…Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than we are?” (Matthew 6:24-26)
Instead of facing our seemingly impossible situations and thinking “I don’t know how I’m going to do this,” what if we approached them as an opportunity to say, “God, I can’t wait to see what you do and how you protect, rescue, and save me.” Then watch and wait with full anticipation of God’s provision and protection.
That’s essentially what David did when he went out to fight Goliath. He didn’t let the size or the reputation of the giant frighten him or dissuade him from his call. God had been preparing him his whole life to fight against the giant and win. David just kept his confidence in the very One who created him, prepared him, and went with him.
When I came face to face with the giant of cancer, I had a choice to make: believe the enemies lies or trust God’s truth. Scripture says we cannot serve two masters, so I had to choose one over the other. Believing the enemy’s lies only fostered worry, fear, and anxiety over things I couldn’t control. Trusting God gave Him permission to take control, and in doing so, I could receive His gift of peace.
Friend, I don’t what giants you are facing today. Perhaps you, too, have received a poor report from the doctor. Or there is too much month without enough left in the paycheck. Maybe relationship discord has you pondering the viability of a sustained relationship. Possibly you aren’t at the place academically or professionally where you thought you’d be.
Whatever your giant is, I pray you will entrust it into God’s capable hands, and receive His gift of peace. For when you do, you will have no cause for fear. “I will give you peace in the land, and you will be able to sleep with no cause for fear” (Leviticus 26:6).
Because of Him, #PeacePrevails!
More resources to fight worry, fear and anxiety
Resource to Break Anxiety’s Grip
No question, we have a lot to worry about. Children, jobs, homes, health, finances, and more. The solution isn’t to rid ourselves of the sources of anxiety – as if we could. Instead, we need to recognize that anxiety originates from a spiritual influence and that we can fight back using the God-given weapons of power, love, and a sound mind.
We can discover true peace in an age of anxiety.
In Breaking Anxiety’s Grip, Dr. Michelle Bengtson shares her own story of emerging from the battle with anxiety as well as the stories of others. She reminds you of your identity as a follower of Christ and of the peace he promises you in spite of everything.
She provides tools to cope with the crushing emotional burden of anxiety now and, more importantly, shows you how to reclaim God’s peace as a way of life so that you can break anxiety’s grip.
Breaking Anxiety’s Grip: How to Reclaim the Peace God Promises is now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBooks.com, Books-A-Million, and other fine book retailers.
Click here to learn more: Breaking Anxiety’s Grip.