In more than one place in scripture, God promises to be with us. In our sermon series this month, we have already seen how Mary, the mother of Jesus, trusted that God would be with her in the events leading up to Jesus’ miraculous birth. What about our stories? Do we believe that God is with us?
Below are some resources in this blog related to fear and anxiety. It is not an exhaustive list, but a good starting place to find out more from a psychological perspective:
- The biology of fear- and anxiety-related behaviors
- How to overcome fear and anxiety
- Fear vs. Anxiety
- Do Not Fear – 33 Verses about Fear and Anxiety to Remind Us: God Is in Control
There are many books about fear and anxiety that you can find written by psychologists and theologians, if you want to dig deeper. There are resources like yoga classes, mindfulness training, meditation, and other practices to help us center ourselves and stay in the present moment. So much that happens in life we can’t control and if you tend to worry on a regular basis, you are probably very familiar with the fear and anxiety this creates. For some, fear turns into chronic anxiety which can limit the ability to enjoy life. It’s exhausting to worry about what will happen next every moment of the day. “What if’s” can keep us up at night, especially when we feel helpless and can’t or don’t know how to change our circumstances.
Recently, I heard part of a sermon by a well-known T.V. preacher. Normally, I don’t listen to his program, but last week I heard an excerpt from one of his sermons and he made an important point. He talked about how we make our problems big and God small when it should be the other way around. We should make God bigger than our problems. He went on to name some very real concerns – it was a long list. Then, he said “Magnify the Lord”. When I heard these words, I thought about Mary in our bible story. God was calling her to do something scary – to step out in faith into a situation that would be misunderstood by her family and her culture. Her response invites us to trust God and make God bigger in our lives. Mary is an inspiration to me and perhaps to you, too. She knew who she belonged to and she trusted in God’s love no matter what might happen.
As followers of Jesus, we are invited to trust and not to fear. We are told how much God loves us – how we are created in the image of God, how we all experience the brokenness of the human condition, and how we are redeemed by God despite our faults and frailty. Because of Jesus we are offered another way – a way of love, trust and hope. Because of this, we pay attention to what is happening in our world. There are issues and problems that need solving and there are cycles of injustice and deprivation that can’t be ignored – at least by followers of Jesus. But, I wonder: Are these the things that create fear and anxiety in our lives? Or are we afraid that God won’t be there when we need God most? Will we have the faith of a Mary when we need it? It’s not by accident that the angel Gabriel, the messenger from God, said “Do not be afraid.” Whether you are struggling with fear and anxiety as a daily reality or you are hesitating to serve God because you are afraid, God knows who you are and is with you.
We are also here to support you as a church family. If you would like to speak with a Stephen Minister or a member of our clergy, we invite you to contact Deborah Conner.