“What Does God Say to Worriers?” is the first post in Biblical Counseling Center’s new summer series “What Does God Say?” This series spotlights numerous issues that our counselees turn to us for compassionate and competent counseling in person and by Skype.
Among the “What Does God Say?” posts are marital abuse and rebellious kids to depression and anger to masturbation, adultery, and homosexuality. Here’s is the first post in our “What Does God Say” series. Guest blogger Tim Lane is also a counselor and author of Living Without Worry: How to Replace Anxiety with Peace. This article (How Does Jesus Talk to Worriers? by Tim Lane) originally appeared on the Biblical Counseling Coalition website and is used with permission.
Our Cares and Worries
I am not sure about you, but I struggle with worry all the time. I worry about what people think of me; whether I am setting aside enough for retirement; what life trajectory my children are on; how long will I enjoy good health; will my wife die before me. I know, it’s pretty self-centered. The list can be rather big depending on the time of day or year.
Statistics say that nearly 1 in 5 Americans will struggle with some degree of anxiety this year that will impede their ability to function. That’s nearly sixty-five million Americans in one year.
Jesus Cares About Our Cares
In the past, I would look to the Bible for some direction and hope in times of distress. When I did, I would bump into passages where Jesus emphatically says, “Do not worry!” To be honest, at first glance, those words were downright depressing. Then I would feel guilty for feeling depressed. I knew something was not right, but I did not know what it was.
About a year ago, I started looking at those passages again. I came to them with fresh eyes and the help of the Holy Spirit. I also came with a deeper sense of need. As I pondered Jesus’ every word, some interesting things began to emerge.
I was especially drawn to Luke’s account of Jesus teaching on worry in Luke 12:22-34. After He commands His disciples not to worry, He says something in verse 32 that gives you a clue about the tone of His voice as He utters His command. Jesus says:
Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.
Do you hear that? A command followed by a tender description of His hearers. Two little words, “little flock,” radically altered the way I understood and heard Jesus’ command. He calls His worrying disciples, you and me, His “little flock.” Isn’t it just like Jesus to pack so much in two words? And isn’t it just like us not to hear them?
Many years ago, when my children were very young, occasionally they would be awakened in the night due to a bad dream, a nightmare, or a terrible storm. They would wander through the dark house to our bedroom, sometimes in tears, crying and filled with fear and anxiety.
How do you think my wife and I would respond to their fears and tears? Do you think we would say in a harsh voice, “Don’t be afraid! Go back to bed! Your mother and I are trying to get some much needed rest after taking care of you all day!”
Of course not. We would not scold or shame them. We would jump out of bed and put our arms around them, kiss them, and say, “Don’t be afraid. It’s okay. Mommy and Daddy are here. We love you and we are going to protect you. Now just come up in my lap and relax and go back to sleep.”
Casting All Our Cares on Him
The other day I was preoccupied with something and was struggling with that gnawing feeling in my gut. I was beginning to experience what I now know is anxiety. This time, I heard a very different voice speaking to me. It wasn’t the shaming harsh words I was expecting, but the tender words of a Savior who knows that we are but dust. He knows how broken this world is, and He knows how weak we are.
I heard Him say:
“Tim, don’t be afraid. I am committed to you. I love you and am going to take care of you. I am with you. I have given everything, including My own life, to secure your safety and well-being. I am Your Savior and King.”
What about you? How do you hear Jesus’ command, “Do not worry?” Do you add or leave off the next two words, “little flock”? Those two words make a world of difference. Those two words are spoken by a King who bids us to live life in a very different kingdom than our own. A kingdom where He rules as King in your behalf.
For More Help
For more practical, biblical help with anxiety struggles, your BCC team is pleased to recommend Dr. Lane’s new book, Living Without Worry: How to Replace Anxiety with Peace.
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