Trusting Truth: Part 1

I have an anxiety disorder. That means sometimes things that do not work right in my body cause my mind and my body to experience the sensation of fear. The problem is that my mind and body experience fear when there is nothing to fear at all. It is a strange thing to try to explain to other people.

If you have never experienced panic attacks, or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or Agoraphobia, or any of the other various disorders marked by anxiety and/or depression, you may have a hard time grasping the idea that people can be suffering feelings of fear or hopelessness when, as far as you can see, there is nothing wrong with them.

The best I can do for you, is to describe the experience:
Think back to a time when you felt the most fear you have ever felt. Think about how your body and mind reacted to that fear. Your heart rate probably increased. Your adrenaline began to flow. You may have started shaking, or sweating. You may have felt a sudden need to react by running away or by fighting. You may have also felt an impending sense of disaster or helplessness. For the person who suffers with anxiety, those sensations and experiences happen to them, without anything other than chemical reactions causing them. In other words all the feelings that a lion is chasing me are present in my body and mind, but there is no lion chasing me.
This is a truly painful and disorienting experience. My guess is that most people who experience serious anxiety or depression would gladly trade their malady for any number of other serious physical pains or diseases.

There are two reasons why I bring this up. The first is to give some practical discipleship to the many friends and family members of those who live with anxiety and/or depression as a result of this fallen world (
Romans 7:24). Before you assume that your loved one is simply weak of mind or body, consider this:
  • Anxiety and depression are real afflictions experienced by millions of people, usually involving the misfiring or misapplication of certain chemicals in the body, chemicals like serotonin.
  • A person suffering from these experiences cannot simply summon the personal strength to will themselves out of these symptoms any more than you can summon the personal strength to will your ulna back together when you break your arm.
  • A lot of prayer and a little grace and understanding go much further to help a loved one who suffers with anxiety and/or depression than all the “advice” you could possibly give.
  • Loving God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and loving your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27) demands that you show the same affection, care, love, and cherishing that you would long for your loved ones to show you, when you suffer serious and painful illnesses. 
  • Your loved one was made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26), and is your neighbor. Frankly, even if he or she was your enemy who was suffering, our Lord and King, Jesus Christ has commanded us to love them too! (Matthew 5:43-48.)
The second reason for this information is to give some practical discipleship to those who suffer from anxiety and depression, and to anyone who struggles with fear and worry.

2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

For the person who struggles with anxiety and depression, remember that the sensations, the pains, and the experiences are artifacts of your broken body, which you have because you live in a fallen, sinful world (Romans 8:22-25). The good news for those of us in Christ is that we will one day be transformed in body as we have already been transformed, redeemed, and made new in spirit! (Romans 8:18-212 Corinthians 5:14-17.)
Remember that the fight is not yours, it is God’s. You are His child! (
1 John 2:28-3:3.) You are His workmanship; you were created for good works (Ephesians 2:4-10)! We do all things we do through Christ (Philippians 4:13John 15:3-5). When the difficulties come, and they will come, no matter the specific struggle you face, you must lean on the power of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, and provides the strength and power you need to live and move and grow and suffer and stand.

Romans 15:13 NKJV
 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Only the return of Jesus Christ the King will set the world right (Revelation 22:20-21)! But the sufferings you are suffering now do have a use and a purpose:
a.) they build patience, which leads to the perfecting of your maturity in Christ (James 1:2-4);
b.) they remind us of our need for God’s power and provision in our lives (Psalm 73:25-26);
c.) they remind us of our hope in God’s promise  that God will work all things “together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). What is the point of the promise, if there is nothing broken and painful that needs to be worked together for good?;
d.) They build us up for ministry to others, because our suffering produces perseverance, character, and hope (Romans 5:3-5);
e.) they keep us humbly relying on the Lord and recognizing the need for His strength. When we are weak, then we are strong, because He is strong for us and in us (2 Corinthians 12:10)!
You almost certainly did not ask to suffer, but if you love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself, you ought to want to serve both God and your neighbor. That service takes strength, and strength comes from learning to abide in and trust God, and your temporary affliction can be just the weight God bears for you in order to strengthen you in real trust and real reliance on Him. That is what builds a beautiful relationship with Him and that is what gives you the tools to let Him work for you in the context of His Body, the Church, to minister to others. No work and no tribulation equals no maturity. No maturity equals no trust and faith. No trust and faith equals no useful ministry to your brothers and sisters in Christ.
So rejoice in your tribulations, trials, and sufferings, knowing the promises of Scripture that God will work all of these things together for good for those of us who love Him and who are the called according to His purpose, and all of these things make you mature and strong in Him.

Philippians 4:4-8 NKJV
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

No Comments