A dark shroud covers your body and tightens around your neck. It’s heavy as if soaked in oil, or molten lava, but it never burns away. The suffocating, boiling cloth pulls you down to the ground. The massive stone weights tied to its four corners keep you from slipping out underneath it. You’re trapped with no escape.
Anxiety is one of the enemy’s favorite weapons and can be described in many different ways.
An overwhelming sense of energy that spins inside you like a top.
A heavy weight that pushes your shoulders down to the ground.
An endless loop of your worst case scenarios replaying on every monitor inside your brain’s supercomputer until it makes you go insane.
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”— 1 Peter 5:8 ESV
Fear is a common tool the devil uses to paralyze his victims. He uses it to keep you in your place and restrain you from achieving what God has planned for you.
He can’t take away your salvation or your rewards in heaven, but he can certainly make your life miserable. A nauseous stomach, a pounding headache, a racing heart, and a pair of constricted lungs make an impressive straight jacket.
What hope is there when we stand face-to-face with a roaring lion? We step aside and let the lion within us take over.
“…fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”— Isaiah 41:10 ESV
Jesus died a bloody painful death so he could draw you to himself and the Father. Do you think he would go through agony just to leave you on your own? Do you think the Holy Spirit within you is only a ‘holy stamp of approval ‘to get you into heaven? That He will never help you in day-to-day life?
The Bible says “…for God so loved the world”, for God so loved us. Listen to that. God didn’t just tolerate or feel fondly for us. He loves us with a deep passionate love that cannot stand to be without you for a second. A love that demanded death so there could be reconciliation between you and him. With love like that would Jesus sail up into heaven, give a wave, and say, “See you later!” and never help you with the rest of your life?
God is not the God of the dead, but the living! He is living with us each day. That means we don’t have to carry that heavy shroud of anxiety and fear alone. Jesus’ broad back, the same one that was whipped for our sins, is there to shoulder our pain. He may not take the fear away completely, but he will walk beside you and carry it with you.
Yes, your mind may pound with a thousand ways your loved ones could parish, a million ways you could fail, and a trillion ways your life could take a wrong turn, but God remains the same. He never changes; therefore, His love never changes. It is still the same intense love that paid the ultimate price two thousand years ago. The same passionate love that burns for you every waking moment of every single hour.
When you feel the cords of death tightening around you, instead of fighting for air, bow down and whisper for God’s mercy. Ask him to come beside you and lift the shroud off. Though Satan will continue you shoot darts of fear at you, he cannot stop the lion stronger than he.
God fights for you; you need only be still. Stop fighting in your own strength, you are too weak to stand alone. Surrender to the only one who can help you, the only one who understands your pain and suffering.
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”— Romans 8:26 ESV
You don’t have to be strong to overcome anxiety nor do you have to be fearless, the only thing you must be is willing. Willing to bow your head and let Him lift your restraints. Fear is powerful, but God is stronger. He is the one who let the tempest swarm around Elijah but spoke in a still small voice.
Victory does not come with horns and shouts of triumph. It comes in quiet whispers and helps us survive another day. Until one day we aren’t just surviving, but thriving.