God With Us Through Anxiety – Walter McCorkell 31/10/21

Passage: Psalm 46

Philippians 4:6 (Do not be anxious about anything)
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.

The Psalm can be broken down into its three parts, giving us three images of God:

  • God as our constant, no matter what might befall us.
  • God as our protector, in trouble, worry, uncertainty and calamity.
  • God as our future, when we are still and rely on Him

A trouble shared is a trouble halved. See Psalm 23 for this truth. See the Psalmist’s confidence and reliance on God, no matter what else takes place.

Our church is one of community, a place where anxiety can be shared and dispelled. Imagine though, handing over your anxiety to God.

From the sermon

Imaging putting God into our anxiety. It would change our anxiety into the phrase;

Always NeXt IE To You, or perhaps, I AM ALWAYS NEXT TO YOU. The great I AM, borders our anxiety, He absorbs it and helps us cope.

Anxiety today is, however, a growing and serious mental health problem. Lockdown, mask wearing, loss of liberty, loss of normality and loss of human contact alongside loss of income or assurance has created one of the biggest health emergencies of our time, but God remains the same. Two weeks ago Lynda Blair made reference to the anxiety someone experiences in being told they had tested positive for Covid or indeed that they had to isolate because someone they knew/had contact with, had tested positive for Covid. A natural reaction: their world, their normal way of working has just been turned upside down.

God, our God, however, is faithful in every situation, He is sitting beside you, walking with you, He is outside helping you go out and inside helping you come in. His consistency, presence, assurance and strength is all we need to get through. No matter how big we see the problem no matter the complexity, He knows it is insignificant compared to your importance to Him. He is our friend, our closest friend, leading us guiding us, loving us.

Anxiety (worry) has been described as sitting on a rocking chair – no matter how hard we rock in it, we do not get anywhere.

It can be defined by some as;

A multisystem response to a perceived threat or danger, or a normal, human feeling of fear or panic.

How would you define anxiety?

Does everyone react equally to the same fear/situation? Why not?

Issues that make us panic

  • Unfamiliar circumstances or events
  • Finances
  • Family issues
  • Health
  • Big decisions
  • Everyday things
  • Employment
  • Divorce
  • Church
  • Change

To help you cope, list for yourself those situations that make you anxious.

In the Spiritual realm

  • Have you questioned your Faith?
  • Have you doubted God’s existence?
  • Have you doubted your own existence?
  • Have you wondered where is God today?
  • Has the pandemic made you fearful?
  • Do you follow 1Peter 5:7?

If you have been challenged in your faith, by being anxious, open/reopen your heart and let God lead you forward, from here.

Matthew 11: 28-30, The Message

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take real rest. Walk with me work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live life freely and lightly.

Does this resonate with your feelings of being anxious?

How do Matthew 11: 28 and Philippians 4:6 help you to view or cope with anxiety? How might these verses help us rejoice (Philippians 4:13 and Habakkuk 3:19)?

Coping with Anxiety

What provides a mechanism or means for us to deal with anxiety?

Is this answer permanent or temporary?

From what you have learned in our biblical study on anxiety, based on Psalm 46, how might this allow or equip you to help others deal with anxiety?

Consider these steps to help yourself/others to cope with anxiety.

  1. Share your anxiety/concern with God
  2. Share your anxiety/concern with others/help them share it with God
  3. Envision/see God’s presence at each stage
  4. See Him being constant throughout past events.

Do you know which groups, organisations, outside of our Church family, can help us cope with anxiety. Some of these were mentioned during the sermon, did you notice?

Anxiety is a response, not necessarily a permanent condition. Take time and discuss this with a friend/colleague to help you deal with any anxiety.

Apply

What have I found interesting? 

What has challenged my life, attitudes and actions

How would this habit help me to become more like Jesus?

How would this habit help me to introduce others to Jesus?

What practical steps do I need to take to incorporate this habit into my life?

Is there there anything I need to pray about, explore further or extra help I need?

Is there someone I should to share with, pray with or encourage

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