“I went to buy food but found only cookies
—for 10,000 times the normal price! The next day, stores had no food at all.” —Paul, Zimbabwe.
“My husband sat me down and said he was leaving us. How could I bear the betrayal? What would happen to my children?”
—Janet, United States.
“When the sirens go off, I run for cover and lie on the floor as the rockets explode. Hours later my hands still shake.”
We live in times of anxiety, “critical times hard to deal with.” (2 Timothy 3:1) Many are reeling from financial crises, family breakdown, war, deadly disease outbreaks, and natural or man-made disasters. Add to this a variety of personal worries: ‘Will the growth I discovered on my body turn out to be cancer?’ ‘What kind of world will my grandchildren grow up in?’
Not all anxiety is bad. We naturally feel some stress before a test, a performance, or a job interview. And a healthy fear of danger helps us to avoid harm. But extreme or constant anxiety is destructive. A recent series of studies involving more than 68,000 adults revealed that even mild anxiety increases the risk of premature death. With good reason, then, Jesus asked: “Who of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his life span?” Indeed, worry lengthens no one’s life. Jesus therefore advised: “Stop being anxious.” (Matthew 6:25, 27) But how is that even possible?
The answer involves applying practical wisdom, nurturing real faith in God, and building a reliable hope for the future. Even if we do not now face dire circumstances, we may in the future. So let us see how taking these steps has helped Paul, Janet, and Alona to deal with anxiety.