Inside: When suffering from anxiety, it’s hard to focus on anything else. As Christians, we might feel bound by our anxiety, like God could never use us while we are plagued with anxiety. God chooses the unexpected many times during the struggle. Check out The Bible and Anxiety.
I used to think I was the only one who suffered from anxiety. The thoughts would swirl in my head, and I was led to believe I was alone. My healing began to happen when I started to let go, surrender and trust in God. It was also helpful to read the accounts of God’s followers in the Bible and anxiety that plagued them.
Because fear and anxiety are so intertwined, it’s hard to know which one was overcoming me. I lived in a constant state of fight or flight.
The Unexpected One
In the Bible in Judges 6, the Israelites are living in fear. Enemy nations are attacking them because they have fallen away from the Lord. These enemy nations were relentless and were taking the crops, livestock and any possessions from the people of Israel.
The people left their homes and found refuge in the mountains, caves, and strongholds for fear of being overtaken.
Can you put yourself there? Do you feel the fear, anxiousness, and frustration?
We meet Gideon threshing wheat deep within a wine cellar to keep his actions in secret from the intruders. An angel of the Lord appears to Gideon and says to him, “Strong soldier, the Lord is right here with you.”
13 “Sir,” Gideon replied, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘The Lord brought us up out of Egypt’? But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.”
14 Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!”
15 “But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family” (Judges 6:13-15, NLT).
How did Gideon trust God during these anxious times?
Doesn’t this sound familiar? We, many times, view ourselves as insignificant, small and as the underdog. Failures, past mistakes, and our current weakness can keep us from God’s purpose.
16 The Lord said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.”
17 Gideon replied, “If you are truly going to help me, show me a sign to prove that it is really the Lord speaking to me. 18 Don’t go away until I come back and bring my offering to you” (Judges 6:16-17, NLT).
Gideon goes and gets his offering, returns and places the sacrifice on a rock as directed by the angel of the Lord. Then the angel touches the gift with the tip of his staff and fire reaches up from the rock and burns up the offering.
Finally, Gideon realizes it’s an angel of the Lord and cries out “I’m going to die, I saw an angel of God’s face to face.”
23 “It is all right,” the Lord replied. “Do not be afraid. You will not die.” 24 And Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and named it Yahweh-Shalom (which means “the Lord is peace”). The altar remains in Ophrah in the land of the clan of Abiezer to this day (Judges 6:23-24, NLT).
The Bible and Anxiety
Is it just me or does it seem contradictory that Gideon calls the altar “The Lord is peace?” Everything about this current moment is less than peaceful.
It’s important to realize what Gideon’s story teaches us:
- Concern made him lose confidence in God.
- God encouraged and inspired him, God does this most often through His word, others, and sermons.
- Anxiety caused him to forget God’s goodness in the past.
- Gideon was enough when God was behind him.
- Fear generates frustration at God.
- When we focus on our circumstance, we lose view of God.
- God is continually and forever with us.
Anxiety Isn’t a Match for God
In the exchange between God and Gideon, we see anxiety replaced with peace. God’s presence ended his doubt and a bridge of relationship formed between God and Gideon.
Gideon was ultra-focused on his situation; however, God focused on his heart and what he would accomplish with Him.
Gideon becomes a mighty warrior going confidently into battle and growing into the brave soldier God knew He would be.
We see, Gideon throws off his fear and puts on faith. Here’s the point to realize, God can be trusted. He will guide you through your fear and replace it with faith.
The Lord gets his best soldiers out of the highlands of affliction. ~Charles Spurgeon
God’s presence and peace made the difference for Gideon.We too can find peace and God’s presence in the midst of our fearful times. Click To Tweet
6 Biblical Ways to Calm Anxiety
- God is with us, and we can conquer enemies with God’s help.
- We are who God says we are if He says we win, we will.
- God exalts those who are small in the world’s eyes.
- If we give God our weakness, He can give us His strength.
- God deserves our thankfulness, gratitude, and praise.
- We have the hope of peace in this life and the promise of an eternal home.
With God, terror turns into a trust which leads to tranquility.
The truth is, we can find peace in the most trying of circumstances if we just trust, surrender and wait on His timing. He will use everything to grow our faith from sissy to soldier.
(1 Corinthians 1:28, (NLT).
28 God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.
If you’re looking for more resources on anxiety, check out “Do Not Be Anxious: The Best Biblical Resources for Anxiety” page.