Finding faith in times of fear
Whatever our anxieties, we are called to bring them before Jesus, writes Chris Willis
Fear, stress and worry are a common feature in our society today. Maybe it has always been that way but it seems more prevalent now in these times of recession, rising prices and unemployment. Individuals and communities are driven by secular interests such as money, material wealth and prosperity.
There is a widening gap between the richest and poorest and widespread inequality. Many people in the UK are worried about their jobs, paying their mortgages or rent and even getting enough food to eat. Considering all this is it any wonder so many people are uncertain and unhappy?
As Christians we are not immune to worry and fear because we live in the same society and suffer the same pressures... but should our attitude be different? Should we be completely free of anxiety?
Fear is a familiar emotion to God; as with many things He understands Human nature and that all of us feel insecure from time to time. Jesus made references to it in the Gospels saying “Do not worry” and “Don’t be afraid”. He admonished His followers saying “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”
God knows that we all feel fear and uncertainty from time to time; after all it is a perfectly natural response to stressful situations either perceived or real. In fact recent scientific study has shown that some people are genetically predisposed to worry.
Knowing this God wants to reassure us, through Jesus, that there is no need to be frightened in any circumstance because He is always with us. We should always bring our worries to Him which is exactly what Jesus wanted us to do when He said “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”. I see this less as a command and more as a reassurance that nothing is trivial to God if it is important to us.
We are never alone and we can trust in God to help us with our problems. All of this may seem obvious but I think a reminder is not hurtful and thinking like this has certainly helped me manage my own insecurities.
I don’t think God expects us to be completely free of anxiety, after all it does have its uses, but He does want us to bring them to Him.
Praying about things that worry us is crucial. In a strange way our anxieties (as unpleasant as they are) bring us closer to God and give us the opportunity to forge a stronger, more intimate bond with Him.
Chris Willis is a member of Sutton Baptist Church in Greater London