Happy new month! We’ve passed the half way mark of 2019… Glory to God!
This month, our theme is ‘Anxiety’ and ‘Worry’. Throughout the month of July, you’ll see us and hear us talking about Anxiety and offering advice and tips. So, keep an eye out on our social media! @masterpieceuk_
So, before I began writing this post, I had to look up the oxford definition of Anxiety, this is what I found:
1. Feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.
1.1 A nervous disorder marked by excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behaviour or panic attacks.
2. An infinitive Strong desire or concern to do something or for something to happen.
After reading this I thought, well I believe we’ve all felt (1.) before, that nervous, uneasy feeling about something with an uncertain outcome. In other words, the feeling when you’re lacking faith. And I can honestly say, it is not a nice feeling at all! Today I am going to focus on the first definition.
A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.
It is natural to feel anxious when we’re unsure about something or when something unexpected happens. But that is when we must remind ourselves who we are and who we serve. We serve a living God, a God that will NEVER fail. If he didn’t fail all those other times, why would he fail now? He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. (Hebrews 13:8)
One example in the bible of an anxious king is in 2 Chronicles chapters 17-21. God was always on King Jehoshaphat side because he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. Therefore, throughout his ruling as king, God helped him. Jehoshaphat always sought Gods counsel whenever trouble aroused.
One day there was sudden trouble. Two countries, which were the king’s neighbours, sent their armies. They even got extra military help from other nations. They all came to attack Judah. (This was the land where Jehoshaphat ruled.) King Jehoshaphat was not prepared at all. He only had a small army. He knew that the people in Judah could never overcome the enemy. Judah had no military strength. Now Jehoshaphat’s worst fears were happening. God was their only chance. If he would help them, then they would succeed.
What Jehoshaphat did in this situation is something we can all learn from. So, this is what he did when he was so anxious:
Firstly, he prayed really hard.
‘Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah.’ (2 Chronicles 20:3) Jehoshaphat hurried to the place for prayer. He was so anxious and nervous about his situation that he prayed harder as a result of this trouble. This is very relatable because we’ve all been through something that has shaken us in a different way where we had no other choice but to hold onto God. And that is exactly what we should do during these times. Troubling situations may cause pain and despair but we should not focus on being anxious. Instead we should hold on tighter to our faith, like Job did when he went through trials and tribulations. This can be a very hard thing to do when you are in the midst of it.
2. The second thing we can take away from Jehoshaphat’s actions, is his thoughts.
When you are in trouble, do not let anxiety control your thoughts. Remember God’s goodness in the past. The Kings trouble urged him to pray harder and when we read his prayer in 2 Chronicles 20: 5-13. He first remembers the past, and how God helped his people. ‘O our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?’ (2 Chronicles 20:7)
When we are in the midst of feeling anxious about a situation, we are so clouded with anxiety we focus on the present and then we fear the future even more. However, when we begin to feel anxious and lack faith we need to look back and remind ourselves of how good God has been to us in the past and how he has not let us down but come through every single time whether we knew it or not. Therefore, he will not forget you now. He has not forgotten you. Jehoshaphat did the right thing. He looked back. He remembered all that God had done in the past. He looked up. He said: ‘You are God in heaven. His own resources were very small. But heaven’s resources have no limit. When he realised this, his anxiety began to disappear.
3. Another point to take away from this is that in your trouble do not forget that God still rules! He knows what you are going through, he knows what is going to happen, he knew this situation was coming before you even knew. Therefore, one key thing Jehoshaphat did in his midst of trouble was cry out to God because he knew that God is the one in control. ‘Lord God...you rule in heaven over all the world’s nations. You have power and strength. Nobody can defeat you. You are our God’ (20:6).
He never doubted Gods authority because he called on Him, yes, he was anxious but he knew he couldn’t attain victory on his own without God. This is the sort of mindset we need to have. Victory is in Jesus; we cannot do it alone. If we could, God wouldn’t have given us Jesus. Therefore, we can find comfort and reassurance in the fact that God knows we need him and he is willing to help us when we call His name.
God’s promises stand forever, his word is still alive. This is something King Jehoshaphat remembered too. When he stood in prayer, he referred to two great leaders Abraham and Solomon. He reminded God of the promise he made to Abraham (Read Genesis 17:7-8.), and God is not a liar. He will never go back on His word or promise. God promised that the land would belong to the Jews. That promise would always remain.
In our times of trouble, we must do the same. Think about the great promises of God. Accept them. Hold on to them. This is how we must remain faithful and trust that God will never disappoint you. Jehoshaphat’s trust was in God. So, God sent him a message. He gave it to man who worked in the Temple (Read 2 Chronicles 20:15-17.) God told him ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but Gods.’ Glory to God!
So I leave you with this final scripture to encourage you on your journey. Meditate over it when you’re feeling discouraged or anxious about something and God will come through for you every time.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
PS: We have a fun anxiety art workshop on the 20th July 2019, tickets available here: https://reevotickets.com/events/event-details/?ev=donotbeanxiousanxietyartworkshop