“When I hear the siren, my heart starts racing and I run to a bomb shelter,” says Alona. “But even there I feel anxious. It’s worse when I’m outside, with no place to hide. Once, while just walking down the street, I started to cry and couldn’t breathe. It took me hours to calm down. Then the siren went off again.”
War is only one of many sources of danger. For example, the discovery that you or a loved one has a life-threatening illness can make you feel as though you have been hit by a bomb. And for others, fear of the future can cause anxiety. They worry, ‘Will our children, or their children, have to live in a world of war, crime, pollution, climate change, and epidemics?’ How can we deal with such anxieties?
Knowing that bad things happen, “the shrewd person sees the danger and conceals himself.” (Proverbs 27:12) And just as we try to protect our physical well-being, we can take steps to shield our mental and emotional health. Violent entertainment and even news reports filled with horrific images add to our own and our children’s anxiety. To avoid unnecessary exposure to these things is not hiding our head in the sand. God did not design our minds to dwell on evil. Instead, we should fill them with “whatever things are true, . . . righteous, . . . chaste, . . . lovable.” If we do, “the God of peace” will give us peace of mind and heart.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PRAYER
Real faith helps us to deal with anxiety. The Bible urges us to “be vigilant with a view to prayers.” (1 Peter 4:7) We can ask God for his help and for the wisdom and courage to make the best of our situation, confident that “he hears us concerning whatever we are asking.”
The Bible explains that Satan, not God, is “the ruler of this world” and that “the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” (John 12:31; 1 John 5:19) Therefore, Jesus used no mere figure of speech when he taught us to pray: “Deliver us from the wicked one.” (Matthew 6:13) “Whenever the siren goes off, I ask Jehovah to help me control my feelings,” says Alona. “Also, my dear husband calls me and prays with me. Praying really helps.” It is as the Bible says: “Jehovah is near to all those calling on him, to all who call on him in sincerity.”
OUR HOPE FOR THE FUTURE
In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught his followers to pray: “Let your Kingdom come.” (Matthew 6:10) God’s Kingdom will root out all harmful anxiety forever. Through Jesus, the “Prince of Peace,” God will bring “an end to wars throughout the earth.” (Isaiah 9:6; Psalm 46:9) “He [God] will render judgment among many peoples . . . Nation will not lift up sword against nation, nor will they learn war anymore. . . . No one will make them afraid.” (Micah 4:3, 4) Happy families “will build houses and live in them, and they will plant vineyards and eat their fruitage.” (Isaiah 65:21) “And no resident will say: ‘I am sick.’”
Today, despite all precautions, it is not always possible to prevent “unexpected events” or to avoid being in the wrong place at the wrong time. (Ecclesiastes 9:11) As they have for centuries, war, violence, and disease continue to kill good people. What hope do those innocent victims have?
Countless millions, their number known only to God, will live again. For now, they sleep, safe in God’s perfect memory, until the day when “all those in the memorial tombs will . . . come out.” (John 5:28, 29) Speaking of the resurrection, the Bible assures us: “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, both sure and firm.” (Hebrews 6:19) And God “has provided a guarantee to all men by resurrecting [Jesus] from the dead.”
For now, even those who are trying to please God will face anxieties. By taking practical steps, drawing close to God through prayer, and building faith in the Bible’s hope for the future, Paul, Janet, and Alona are all dealing successfully with anxiety. As he has in their case, “may the God who gives hope fill you with all joy and peace by your trusting in him.”