Give Thanks

Day 17: Give Thanks in Anxiety

Habakkuk 3:17-19, Matthew 6:25-34, John 6:4-14, 1 Peter 5:6-7

 

I attended church regularly growing up, but it wasn’t until I wrestled with a host of fears and anxieties in my junior year of high school that the Lord transformed my heart. It was during that year my best friend, a girl I really liked, rejected me after I told her I wanted to date her. It was so awkward that we barely spoke the entire school year. This led to a significant amount of anxiety for me, and it revealed my idolatry. The Lord used the rejection of a girl I loved, and the anxiety that resulted, to open my eyes to His acceptance of me.

But how do we give thanks to God when we’re gripped by a more serious anxiety—like the anxiety that results from a lack of food or shelter?

Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount:

“Consider the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? Can any of you add one moment to his life span by worrying? And why do you worry about clothes? Observe how the wildflowers of the field grow: They don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these. If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t he do much more for you—you of little faith? (Matthew 6:27–30)

I love the logic Jesus employs here. He argues from the lesser to the greater. If God takes care of the birds and the flowers, how much more will He take care of us? We are most anxious when we forget we bear the image of God and have a role to play in His ongoing plan of redemption. When we step back from the circumstances that produce anxiety, we are better able to see how much God loves us and cares for us.

So what, then? What are we supposed to do when anxiety has a stranglehold on our hearts—when darkness surrounds us? We have to remember that light will overcome the darkness and that its victory doesn’t depend on us or our faith. It depends on God’s faithfulness to us. Whatever we might face tomorrow, God is far greater and far more powerful than any of our worries.

Written by Chris Martin