To help in coping with anxiety, we first need to define what we mean by anxiety. Without going into technical or psychological terms, anxiety is an emotional state that is usually manifested in a state of nervousness and uneasiness. This is usually caused by not being in control of certain circumstances or events of which we do not know the outcome.
At one time or another, we all have experienced anxiety. This is normal since we all have emotions, feelings, and a mind that helps us to think things through. There are cases when the state of anxiety persists to the point of disrupting a person’s way of life, such as phobias, paranoias, and antisocial behavior. Still, these are mental disorders that go beyond the topic of this discussion.
In normal life, anxiety may be caused by different circumstances. One of them may be family problems, such as divorce, being unable to relate or communicate with our children, housing needs, or similar situations that we are unable to manage. Our job is another typical situation that often causes anxiety. The recent pandemic has resulted in the temporary or permanent loss of jobs for millions of people. Similarly, many people are anxious about their finances. Will I have enough savings in an emergency? The medical conditions we or our family members suffer from are further reasons to be anxious.
These are all common reasons for being anxious, and this is something that we all experience one time or another. The problem we must face is how we deal with our anxiety. How do I cope when I am anxious as a result of not knowing the outcome of a particular situation? I would suggest that one of the means by which we can cope with uncertainty is by confronting or acknowledging the issue that has caused us to be anxious. What causes the state of nervousness or uneasiness is the fact that one is unable to control the outcome. On the other hand, if we were sure about the outcome, most likely, the state of anxiety will be diminished or even disappear.
In the Bible, we are told that there is a trustworthy way to deal with anxiety. The apostle Peter exhorts those who are dealing with anxiety to deal with it by “casting all your anxiety on Him [God], because he cares for you” (2 Peter 5:7). Is Peter justified in saying this, or is he merely trying to comfort his disciples? Peter can assure us that God is capable of coping with circumstances that caused anxiety because he had experienced it firsthand.
Peter had been a fisherman and had seen storms in the Lake Kineret, called the Sea of Galilee in the Bible, where he carried his job. On one occasion, a storm suddenly came while he and a few other disciples were taking Jesus across the lake. The storm was so fierce that Peter and others, who were also fishermen, were afraid for their lives. Meanwhile, what was Jesus doing? This is what the narrative says,
“A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down, and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:37-40)
While Peter was terrified due to a circumstance that was beyond his control, Jesus was asleep! Why? Because he knew that there are no circumstances that He cannot control. To prove that, Jesus calmed the storm. More than that, Jesus said that if we have faith in God, we can also overcome whatever “storm” may come to us. And he helps us because he cares for us.
When we experience anxiety, we are not alone. God is there to help you if you have faith in him. Trust that God can deal with your anxiety, and you will be able to rest during the “storms” that may appear in your life. You might feel out of control, but he’s got this. Open up the Bible for comfort from God, and trust him!