Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God,” Philippians 4:6.
Anxiety is often the by-product of a threat to something that an individual considers important. Anxiety frequently arises because one’s life or well-being is threatened. Amidst this COVID-19 pandemic, we’re fearful of a new concept of normal thrust upon us. The sudden set of circumstances that we are forced to grapple with is inclusive of securing adequate food and personal items, fulfilling financial obligations surrounding our sustenance, helplessly monitoring investments and retirement accounts, safely isolating ourselves and families from physical illness to avoid death, observing (through media) the physical and emotional ill fate of many, and a rising local and worldwide death toll.
The Bible gives unusually specific and clear directions for overcoming anxiety. In Philippians 4:6, we are instructed to stop being anxious and worried about stuff. It is appropriate to note that it is practically impossible to stop worrying by an act of will. Such deliberate effort directs our attention to the problem, and can increase anxiety instead of decreasing it. A better approach is to focus on activities and thoughts that reduce anxiety indirectly. The Bible shows how this can be done; and, in so doing, it gives a strategy that we can consider during this international crisis of an encroaching Coronavirus.
Firstly, let’s rejoice. This is a directive in Philippians 4:4. It means to be “full of joy in the Lord.” When the world is infected, chaotic, frightened, dark, and dreary, the Christian still can be joyful. This is because Jesus promised He would never leave us, that He would give us peace, that He will ultimately come to retrieve us from this world, that He will establish a new world with no infectious viral disease, and that, in the meantime, He would send the Wonderful Counselor to accompany us and our loved ones while reminding us of the precious promises we need to remember.
Secondly, be considerate. The Greek word means to let everybody see your kind, gentle, caring, and gracious attitude. This would be inclusive of staying home (as far as possible), washing your hands regularly, and sustaining a physical distancing regimen to protect yourself and others in this infected environment. Study the science of blessing others, and continuing your support for the Church of the Living God. These qualities do not come naturally. They come with the help of God as we work to control our tendencies to condemn others or to demand our rights. A negative condemning outlook on life builds anxiety; a gracious forbearing attitude reduces it.
Finally, pray. Philippians 4:6 gives instructions about prayer in times of anxiety. This kind of prayer is to be about everything (even a viral pandemic), it should include definite and precise petitions telling God what we need, and should involve thanksgiving for all God has done.
My brothers and sisters of the Southern Union, we will successfully get on the other side of our current trials. Zero in on God, Who has never let you down. If you do this, the Bible promises, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. Clearly, prayer is the answer to managing anxiety. –RCS
Southern Union | May 2020