There are a lot of anxious and worried people in the world today, but that’s nothing new. People have been worrying for a long time, otherwise the Bible wouldn’t address worry like it does. We’re not the first people to have days when we feel anxious or nights when we lose sleep because we’re worried about what the future might hold.
Moses worried that he wouldn’t know how to speak when God sent him to Pharaoh to bring the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt (Exodus 3-4). The proverbs talk about how a person can get weighed down with anxiety (Proverbs 12:25). The psalms are filled with verses that were written by people experiencing worry and anxiety. For example, Psalm 13 begins with the words, “How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?” Throughout the Bible, we see over and over again how God responds to all our worries, and how He meets us with compassion in times of anxiety.
Jesus is “God with us” (Matthew 1:23), and He took time to talk about worrying—and even more than that, He experienced anxiety firsthand. On the night before He went to the cross, Jesus went to a quiet place to pray. He was “deeply distressed and troubled,” and He told His disciples, “‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death’” (Mark 14:33-34). Jesus was “in anguish,” and as He prayed earnestly, “his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground” (Luke 22:44). Jesus was willing to go through all this distress and sorrow and hurt…because He loves us. In Jesus, we see how God bore our weaknesses and took our pain, ultimately dying on the cross, so that we could be free (Isaiah 53).
Anxiety, worry, and fear are nothing new. God understands what we’re feeling and how our thoughts can be so unsettling. Jesus is fully God and fully human, so He can truly empathize with our struggles, and He wants to help us (Hebrews 4:14-16). We don’t have to be ashamed when we experience anxiety. We are never alone in our worrying. Life in our broken world is full of challenges, but one day Jesus will return and put an end to worry and anxiety for good. Until that day, Jesus holds us in our distress, and He never lets us go (John 10:27-30). • Emily Acker
• Do you sometimes find yourself thinking that life would have been simpler if you had been born in the past, that you wouldn’t worry so much if you didn’t have to live in this modern world? Ultimately, it’s the fear of death and loss that are at the root of most worries, and these fears are timeless. Similarly, there are lots of things in this broken world that can signal to our bodies that we are in danger and we need to be ready to take action or hide…so while it’s good that our hearts can beat faster and our muscles can get tighter when we need them to, it’s not very helpful when our bodies feel like we’re in danger when we’re actually not. As humans, we all have times when we feel anxious or worried, not just in our teen years but throughout our lives. How might it be comforting to know that God is not surprised by our worries and anxieties—and He doesn’t expect us to be able to handle all the stresses of life on our own?
• What kinds of things make you feel worried or anxious? Consider taking a moment to bring these things to God in prayer. He loves you, and He longs to listen to your hurts and remind you that you are held safe in His arms. You’re not a burden when you’re anxious—you are valuable beyond measure, and you are worth caring for. (1 Peter 5:7)
• When Jesus rose from the dead, He defeated sin and all its effects, including death, pain, sickness, fear, and all forms of worry and anxiety. When Jesus returns, He will make all things new—and everyone who has put their trust in Him will experience total peace and joy in His wonderful presence! Until that day, He promises to stay with us always. As we rely on Him, He helps us grow. And He provides trusted people who show us compassion and help us learn to manage stress in healthy ways—such as medical and mental health professionals who can help us figure out if what we are experiencing is worry, anxiety, or something else. It’s important to remember that we all need help from others, and it’s good to be honest about our struggles. If you find yourself feeling afraid, stressed, or worried a lot of the time, or if your thoughts keep going to “what if” scenarios and you can’t seem to stop, who is a trusted adult you could talk to, such as a parent, pastor, teacher, or counselor?
• If you need someone to talk to, you can set up an appointment for a one-time complimentary phone consultation with a Christian counselor through the Focus on the Family Counseling Service. In the United States, call 1-855-771-HELP (4357) weekdays 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Mountain Time) to set up an appointment. In Canada, book your appointment by calling 1-800-661-9800 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. (Pacific Time) and ask to speak with the care associate.
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. Psalm 94:19 (NIV)