Anxiety Versus Faith

A photo of a small waterfall in the middle of a wood.

I have spent many hours, days and even years laden with anxieties.  It is not an optimum way to live life.  There was a time that anxiety was such a way of life that on one occasion, when I was at peace with no anxieties, I became anxious about not being anxious, thinking something must be wrong.

Anxiety is the antithesis of faith.  When we are anxious, we are not believing and when we are believing, we are not anxious. It is that simple.

Unfortunately, it is not always that simple when it comes to living it out.  Anxieties are like termites, always eating away at the foundations of our faith.  They cause us to ask why, when, how, where, who, and many more questions.

Looking at the question in a simplistic form, it is much easier to believe in the debts, illnesses, estrangements, employment problems, etc. because they are tangible.  We can see them.  It is much less easy to believe in the faithfulness of God, simply because we can’t see Him.  We can’t see how He will meet out needs and from what source.  The scripture doesn’t permit to use that as an excuse.  Paul said: “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).

A very human frailty causes us to permit our anxieties to run their full course, having no place else to turn and then, and then only, turn to God.  Jeremiah addressed this issue when he said: “Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord” (Lamentations 3:40).

Anxiety is motivated by hidden agendas in our lives.  They are things that we feel we must have or that we deserve to have on the one hand or that we resist having in our lives on the other.  Anxiety causes us to make arbitrary demands of God instead of waiting His favor or timing.

Our Lord understands our failures and although He would prefer that we live a complete life of trust, He knows that we will stumble and stagger along the pathway of trust and has made provision for it.

James gave a great discussion of this subject where he said:  “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.  But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.  For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.  A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:5-8).

To be double-minded is to be torn between two thoughts or ideas.  On the one hand, one wants to specifically trust God in the issues of life but on the other, His intangibility produces a handicap that is hard to surmount in the face of our trials and difficulties.  Our faith pulls us one way and our struggles pull us the other.  On one occasion, Elijah challenged Israel on this very issue by saying: “How long halt ye [go limping or stagger] between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him.  And the people answered him not a word” (1 Kings 18:21).

There is always a risk in trusting God.  He does not always inform us in advance as to when, how or even if He will meet our needs.  Faith then requires that we step forward, believing Him, even when what we trusted Him for seem to be impossible.

The life of trust is inseparably linked to prayer.  God’s answers to prayer addresses the issues of our anxieties.  When we bring issues before Him, He will answer our requests in one of the following ways:

  1. His first response may be an immediate delivery of that for which we have believed.  This is always a cause for great rejoicing.
  2. He may say “Later.”  This means that the time is not right for us and that He has a better time than now even when we think it has to happen now.
  3. Sometimes He doesn’t supply as we think He should.  He simply says: “My grace is sufficient.”  In such times God gives us large deposit of grace to fill the vacuum in our lives in our times of need.

Whatever God does, even if it is nothing, is always right.  Let’s read what Paul had to say when faced with life’s dilemmas: “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.  I can do all things [live uncomplainingly on what ever level God provides] through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:11-13).

A life of peacefulness comes when we release our demands and fears and trust God no matter what happens.  Take steps of trustfulness in the Father today.  It is never too early or too late to do so.

Jeff

Copyright July 2002 by Jefferson H. Floyd.  All rights reserved.

1 thought on “Anxiety Versus Faith”

  1. What greater grace could exist than for the One Who has provided us with all we need to successfully follow Christ and His example also provides grace for our failures in doing so. What a good word this is. Anxiety is a failure of faith but is not the only such failure. But thank God His grace is an ever present commodity available to us.

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