There is no doubt, many who are living with great anxiety in their lives. Anxiety is giving our mind to fretting and worry. When a person allows these thought patterns in his life, he magnifies the circumstances and problems in his life often to the point of being overwhelmed in his spirit. This often results in panic attacks, depression, and a vicious cycle of wrong thinking where things seem to get worse than better. It is easy to make our problems bigger than what they really are, and in so doing, we make God smaller than what He really is.
While there are many passages in Scripture that deal with the life-dominating sins of worry, fear, and anxiety, the psalmist who wrote Psalm 143 gives us 2 steps to take when we face times of personal anxiety. If anxiety is not dealt with Biblically in your life, it will dominate your thoughts and feelings. It will affect your rest, your health, your family, your work. In effect, it will take over your life.
4 Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; My heart within me is desolate.
5 I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.
6 I stretch forth my hands unto thee: My soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah.
7 Hear me speedily, O LORD: my spirit faileth: Hide not thy face from me, Lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit.
8 Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; For in thee do I trust: Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; For I lift up my soul unto thee.
9 Deliver me, O LORD, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me.
10 Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: Thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.
While the psalmist faced a spirit that was overwhelmed, he turned in the right direction. Often people who face anxiety seek outlets and helps and medication. They may look on the internet for a solution, but one can learn from the psalmist that turning in the direction of remembrance should be our first step when we sense that anxious spirit coming upon us.
In v. 5, he directed his mind toward remembering the works of the Lord. It is amazing how a time of meditating on God’s works can change your perspective from life’s problems overwhelming you to seeing God as bigger than all of our problems. You can meditate on the works of God in Scripture such as his parting of the Red Sea or his delivering Daniel from the Lion’s Den, or his work of Creation (and there are many more) or you can meditate on his works in your life. When you take time to meditate on his works, you will see God as all-powerful and we see his goodness and see that He is a personal God that cares about our cares (1 Peter 5:7).
The psalmist not only turned to remembrance, but he offered a request to God in v. 8 where he asked God to help him to hear God’s lovingkindness to begin his day. The start of the day was important to the psalmist and he asked God to be able to hear his lovingkindness.
In 1 John 4:18, the Bible teaches us that “perfect love casteth out fear.” When one is able to understand the fullness of God’s love for him and that God’s love towards you never changes, this truth calms the soul. Not only did the psalmist request to hear God’s lovingkindness, but he also requested that God would cause him to know the way wherein he should walk. This reflect the psalmist’s humility and not leaning on his own understanding. It also demonstrates an obedient heart willing to follow God’s path for each day.
The psalmist is consumed with God and his works and how God is going to work in him. He then asks that God would teach him to do thy will. Anxiety can paralyze a Christian from going forward and doing the will of God. Though the psalmist came to God overwhelmed, he now is focused on God teaching him to do his will. He realizes God has things to teach him through the difficult time in his life. In your time of anxiety, take time to remember, take time to ask the Lord at the beginning of each to cause you to hear his lovingkindness, to know the way you walk, and to teach you to do his will. This commitment to communicate with God will help to settle you soul!
Note: For further reading on the topic of anxiety, the author strongly encourages one to read Philippians 4:4-8. If you are dealing with anxiety and would like further help, please feel free to call the church at (717) 927-9227.