Anxiety is a fact of life. However, there are different ways of dealing with it. One is to blot it out with whatever you can find – in a bottle, in a fridge, in a shopping mall, or by working so hard that you never have to deal with it. In contrast, though, the teaching of Jesus offered an approach that does not magic worry away but gives a secure way of dealing with it.
As you can read in the Bible passage below, Jesus’ ideas were practical – get on with things regardless, because no amount of worrying will mean that you live an hour longer.
They were visionary – you are not just living on earth, but for all eternity, so you can see things in a different perspective from those who think they only have a few decades.
They were natural – every bird and flower demonstrates that God actively cares for his world, so think how much humans are cared for.
They were logical – if Christians take seriously the business of making the world fair and free of need, those who follow Jesus will help each other in their times of need.
They were based on faith – you have made it through life up the present day, so let what you have experienced lead you to trust for what lies ahead.
Christians believe they are never alone. They believe that the Spirit of Jesus is alongside them no matter what circumstances they go through – invisibly. They believe that the church exists so that no believer is ever without support – visibly.
If you are lying in bed at night unable to sleep because something is worrying you, form a plan for the next day. When you have made up your mind what you are going to do, tell yourself that you have done everything you can. Consciously decide that the things which are beyond your control will be handed over to God. This may not guarantee sleep, but it is a much better use of the time than letting anxiety spin out of control.
What the Bible says about it
An extract from the Bible:
[Jesus said,] ‘Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you.’
Where to find it:
About these words:
At the height of his popularity, Jesus was addressing a huge crowd when he said these words.
And they said…
Jeremy Vine, broadcaster:
There is a subjective reason and an objective reason [that I believe in God]. The subjective reason is that I find consolation in my faith. The objective reason is that the story of the gospels has stood the test of time and Christ comes across as a totally captivating figure. In moments of worry or cynicism, I tell myself I only believe because my parents did; and the Christian faith poses more questions than it answers. But I still return to believing, as if that is more natural than not doing so.
Victor Hugo, author of Les Miserables, 1802–1885:
Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones. And when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.