Since March of last year, I have watched as people freak out with fear, suffer from exorbitant amounts of anxiety and hole up in their homes. I shook my head in wonder as to their reactions. One lady in particular responded in a very dramatic way. She is a very close friend of mine and a mentor who is about 20 years older than me. She attends my church and would send me encouraging texts a few mornings a week. We would talk on the phone and Facetime as I got her advice on handling husbands and raising kids, life and money. We would also talk about our walk with the Lord. I found her to be a great help in dealing with my anxiety and my self-worth. She would speak the truth of God’s Word over me as I struggled to conquer the lies I believed about myself. She pointed me on a path of healing and I admired her greatly.
As the pandemic continued, I began to see her crack under her fear of getting sick and the .1% chance that she would die of COVID-19. I tried to encourage her and present her with facts from studies I found. But it did no good. We are now just a few months away from two years in to this COVID panic which the media and Dictator Biden has made out to be way more terrible than it actually is. Her anxiety has increased dramatically.
As I watched this strong Christian woman, I began to wonder why she has so much fear. As I was mindlessly cleaning up a mess the boys had made, the Lord brought some verses to mind. These verses have gotten me through some of my most anxious moments. I wondered why my friend has not held on to these to quell her overwhelmingly irrational fear. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7 KJV). God has given us a sound mind. My dear friend needs to use her rational mind to help her sort out the truth in her anxious thoughts. Just like I used God’s truth to learn that I am not unlovable, I am not worthless. She, like I did for years, has let irrational thoughts, not based in the truth of God’s word, take over her thoughts.
She and I just finished up Pricilla Shire’s “Armor of God” Bible study. (A GREAT study!) In that study, Pricilla led us through what the armor of God is and why it is so important. Ephesians 6:10 starts: ‘Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God.” Why should we put on this armor God has given us? ‘SO THAT, you can make your stand against the devil’s schemes. (Ephesians 6:10) The devil is deceiving my friend. That Prince of Lies has taken over her mind. 1 Peter 5:8 states “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. (NLT) The devil has her right where he wants her. Living in fear, looking to herself and what is in her power to make sure she never gets sick.
But God, tells us “Rest in the Lord” (KJV Psalm37:7). He tells us to put on the full armor because our ‘struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world’s darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12) My precious friend must learn to rest in God, believing His truths and knowing He has her best interest in mind.
Last Sunday at church, I went over and said hi to my friend. She was panicking about getting sick again.
“I had a stomach bug this last week and it really took me down,” she said with a very serious face and raised eye brows.
“I get it that!” I replied nodding emphatically. “I had it twice winter before last and it was awful.”
“I just can’t get sick,” she worried. “My family depends on me. I’m the majority bread winner. If I die, we won’t have money.”
I looked at her incredulously. Did she hear what she was saying? Those were lies straight from the devil that she was believing and panicking about. I know her situation and what she just said was not the truth. She has three grown children who live on their own and have good jobs. Her husband works full time as a land surveyor. It sounded like the devil had tricked her in to thinking a bit too highly of herself.
She then said, “Well, I’m older than you, so getting sick is much worse at my age.”
I looked straight at her and said bluntly, “You have 20 years on me.” She knows my health problems and I thought that statement was very unkind based on my situation. How dare she say that me getting sick could never be as bad as her getting sick. Like she has more value than me because I’m unable to work and am younger.
I quickly ended the conversation and headed to Sunday school. Each week, I watch as her spirit of fear roots deeper in to her mind and soul. It disturbs me greatly to see my dear friend being consumed by Satan’s lies.
I hang on to the verse “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6 NKJV). As well as, “For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5 NKJV) Over and over I have had to cast my anxiety on Him, because He cares for me (I Peter 5:7). God really cares about me and my problems. He cares about every worry, every lie that I believe about myself that is wrong, he cares about every little insignificant thought. That is so reassuring for me.
Matthew 6:26, 27 says “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27
Verse 34 says, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
God has told us to take every thought captive (2 Corth 10:5). If we do this, then we don’t need to worry about our future, if we get sick or if we die or if my boys will grow up and I will be by myself. We can’t do anything with our relentless worry so why not be still? Set your worry at the feet of our Creator who knows us better than we know ourselves. Let Him carry that great burden. It is such a heavy burden too. I carried that burden for years!
Jesus says in Mathew 11:30 “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” But we must choose to give up our burdens and anxieties to Him on a daily, or minute by minute, basis. It is a struggle to give over our burdens. We think we can solve the problem on our own. We want to be self-sufficient. We don’t want to bother God with our inabilities or ‘little’ things. But friends, God has asked us to give it to him. He wants to help us, just like I want to help my children. I would never want my children to carry around anxiety and be in a state of fear. God is the same way. He is love (1 John 4:8).
So, with all this knowledge of who God is and what He will do for us and what He wants for us, we must “Humble ourselves before God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
We must rest in the Lord. We must be strong in the Lord and the power of his might. (Ephesians 6:10 NKJV) We must make the conscious decision to “fear not”. Because God has ‘redeemed you; I have called YOU by name. YOU ARE MINE.” Isaiah 43:1 NKJV
After watching #TheChosen, this verse in Isaiah really demonstrates how much God cares for us and how happy He is that we are His. Those are such comforting words. “I have called YOU by name. YOU ARE MINE!”