Many Christians are not yet aware of how relevant God’s all-sufficient word is to their lives. It addresses anxiety, worry, and fear. And what person isn’t familiar with those? Anxiety has now surpassed depression as the most common problem. A recent survey of college students confirmed the seven year trend, 51% of students treated for psychological problems were dealing with anxiety, ahead of those with depression (41%). It’s likely the same way in our homes and churches.
Psalm 39 is an amazingly open expression of mighty King David’s anxiety problem. Really. The great, biblical king had anxiety problems. So don’t be shocked when you do too. And look at the help this text offers. There’s a lot here worthy of in-depth study though I will offer only a brief overview.
A graphic description of anxiety – (v.2-3)
“My distress grew worse. My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned.” Anyone who has dealt with anxiety very much knows this is a good description. Many think they’re having a heart attack. Ever experience, “acid reflux?” There is always a physiological reaction when a person is afraid of something.
The cause of anxiety – (v.4-6)
When anyone ponders, “the measure of my days…how fleeting I am” they see just how insignificant and weak they are even though they may hold a powerful position. They begin to realize, “my lifetime is as nothing,” nothing but a “shadow.” All their accomplishments and efforts have been “for nothing.” What man having a mid-life crisis isn’t thinking these thoughts? And what teen girl, worried about what the popular girls think of her, isn’t thinking the same thing? All anxiety is born here.
Relief from anxiety is found in this belief – (v.7)
The Bible gives one powerful cure for all fears. Instead of fearing the future, the opinions of others, or anything else, find personal value and meaning in God, Himself. That is exactly how David counseled himself with the truth of God, “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.” When anyone lets go of the fear of losing something and holds onto the worth found in God, their worries fade away. This requires putting away the beliefs in the fear and putting on belief of the truth in God.
God has an ultimate aim in addressing our anxiety – (v.9-11)
How amazing to see that the Bible helps people’s worries. But David takes it a step farther. The main issue in anxiety isn’t God making us better. Instead it is God dethroning the false gods of our hearts and exalting Himself alone as the One worthy of worship. Notice how David clearly says of God, “the hostility of
God is using our anxiety to show us how we look for hope and value in many wrong places instead of in Him. We adore and worship many other things and they always disappoint. They also dishonor God. God addresses our worries both to give us relief and to glorify Himself as the only one in the universe worthy of worship.
How do your anxieties, worries, and fears compare to this?