Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5 ESV
Not long ago, I suffered from anxiety. Being told I had some serious health issues sent me into a whirlwind of fear. I was short of breath, unable to relax, and emotionally detached from my husband and small children. Symptoms intensified my fear. I worried about my children – who would care for them if anything happened to me? I was uncomfortable sitting still for even short periods of time. So, I prayed…and I busied myself. I meticulously cleaned my house. I lost weight dramatically, because I feared the foods I ate would contribute to my health problems. I allowed fear and deception to control my life.
I say deception, because I’d convinced myself things were true which were not. It was only after a friend gave me wise counsel, my fear and resulting anxiety began to abate. He said to identify the lies and attack them with the Truth from God’s word.
This sounds simple, I know. But in practice it wasn’t quick or easy. I share this because I had been taught God’s word was sufficient, and when put to the test, I found it to be true.
As I confronted the lies – I was dying, my children were in danger, I couldn’t breathe, etc. – I filled my mind with the truth from God’s word.
My life is in God’s hands – from beginning to end – and I don’t have to fear death because it will be a transition from life to Life.
- But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hand…Psalm 31:14-15a ESV
- Behold, I tell you a mystery! We shall not all sleep, but we all will be changed…for this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and the immortal body must put on immortality. I Corinthians 15: 51,53 ESV
My children are safe, because they too are in the faithful and sovereign hands of God. He will protect and provide for them – just as he has for me all my life.
- In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. Proverbs 14:26 ESV
I can breathe – and every breath is a gift from God who loves me with a steadfast and abiding love.
- Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. I Peter 5:7
- As for you, O LORD, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me! Psalm 40: 11 ESV
Again, and again, I repeated the words from God and slowly the temptation to fear faded.
We will be tempted, but with the temptation God gives us the power and means to overcome the temptation and experience true peace and joy.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers (and sisters), whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:6-8 ESV