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home : religion : inspirational reflections September 21, 2019

6/23/2019 12:21:00 AM
Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is  10% what happens to you and  90% how you react to it.'

Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is 
10% what happens to you and 
90% how you react to it.'

Rev. Susan Smith Walker
Emanuel Reformed Church

One thing I hear about everywhere I go is the disabling effects of anxiety in our community. “My anxiety is so bad right now”, or “my anxiety is getting worse” are very common themes. When people are anxious they are worried and fearful with a feeling of impending doom. Sometimes situations in our lives give us good reasons to be anxious because for whatever reason today wasn’t good and tomorrow might be even worse. Information coming at us from every direction is full of bad news - horrific events, dire warnings about climate change, the threat of war, disease, and economic uncertainty threaten us like black clouds on the horizon. These give us a lot to worry about.

Judging from the number of suspense, horror or just plain scary movies and TV shows out today one might conclude that even though many people are negatively affected by anxiety, Americans like things that makes us anxious. How can that be true when anxiety is such a problem in our society? The stories in these kinds of productions usually revolve around murder, cruelty, abuse, and other heinous acts where people do terrible things to themselves and other people. Why is this kind of entertainment so popular? Are people looking for a temporary artificial anxiety to take their minds off of the real anxiety in their lives? What is all this doing to us as a people?

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Anxiety today is considered a mental health epidemic in America and many people are on medication to help them cope. Even so, I know a lot of people who are on medication for anxiety but they are still anxious. Medication may help, but for many people it does not solve the problem. Some conditions in our lives that cause anxiety are not going to change anytime soon and we need a better way to deal with it than relying on medication to solve the problem or artificial anxiety to distract us. God’s people have spiritual resources and we need to use them.

In Phil 4:6-7 Paul says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

If you are anxious – take your anxiety to God in prayer. Ask Him for His peace in the midst of a chaotic and uncertain world. Even when the worst case scenario is happening in your life, this passage says He can shield your heart and mind from what is going on around you. How God does this is mysterious and transcendent but a great cloud of witnesses like Corrie Ten Boom and others throughout history have testified that He can.

Artificial anxiety might take your mind off your real anxiety but your mind is the temple of God. Images of murder, abuse and cruelty do not belong there. Remember what Paul said next in Phil 4:8-9 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Rev. Walker is the pastor of Emanuel Reformed Church

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