Worry and anxiety are on the increase. A high percentage of people who go to see a doctor are not suffering from a physical illness, but from anxiety and stress. It is a sign of the times in which we live. Some people have lost their jobs or are afraid they may be made redundant. Others have large debts, which they fear they will never be able to repay.
People in every generation have experienced worry and anxiety. The apostle Paul wrote about anxiety to Christians living in first century Philippi. “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 minds in Christ Jesus.”
He didn’t simply say, “Don’t worry!” Instead he reminded the people of their need to trust God. It makes such a difference when we live in constant dependence on God. He is the One who created us and gave us life. In every way we are dependent on him. We need to learn to pray to God about “everything”. We can bring all our needs to him and ask for his help in big things and small things. It is good to pray “with thanksgiving”, as we remember God’s goodness to us in the past. Remembering how God has brought us through other crises in our lives can be so encouraging. When we bring our anxieties to God and ask for his help he gives us his peace and the strength to face the future without fear.
A Christian friend of mine had lost his job. It was a difficult time for him and his wife and young family. He was very worried about how he would be able to pay the bills. One morning, after his wife had gone to work and his children to school, he was reading the Bible and praying. He told God all about his situation and, in desperation, asked him to help. While he was praying he heard something coming through the letter box. After he finished praying he went to see what it was. It was a plain envelope with £500 in it, but no note to say who it was from. Even before he had prayed that morning, God had put it into the heart of someone to help my friend and his family. My friend was full of thankfulness to God.