In the past months I’ve had many conversations with a wide range of people, of different ages, different races, different education levels, and different geographical areas. We have covered a variety of topics. There’s a lot to choose from; personal and family situations, the pandemic, the economy, unrest in cities and towns across the country, and even, yes- the weather. But nearly every conversation has something in common: varying levels of anxiety.
Anxiety is defined as “a feeling of worry, nervousness or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.” Wow. If I could say something about 2020 right now, I think I would include “an uncertain outcome.” Which makes me uneasy, nervous…ok, anxious.
Where can we go when we are anxious? How can we find peace and serenity when we are assaulted on many levels? Go to the book of Psalms. I confess I don’t do this often enough, but when I do, I am reminded of how real the writers were. I am reminded I can go to dark places with God. If I am angry about injustice, Psalm 3:7 says “Arise, O Lord! Save me, O my God! For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked.” If I am frightened and uncertain about the present – or the future, Psalm 2 tells me “Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” When I am weary in the battle, Psalm 84:11,12 reminds me “For the Lord is a sun and shield;…No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!”
God is not surprised or dismayed by my frame of mind. He knows when I have nothing left. What a comfort to find others have had similar experiences, “but I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more” (Psalm 71:14).