At first glance, it may seem somewhat surprising that there are many more references in the Bible to anxiety, fear, and worry than there are to faith, hope, and love. But on reflection, it shows our Father God’s heart of deep love and compassion for His children in highlighting our frequent temptation to this struggle. God yearns for us to run to Him and delight in Him, depending on His eternally satisfying flow of unmerited kindness. This fountain of grace was opened for us over 2,000 years ago by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
My own journey with fearfulness started as a child and continued throughout my adult years as a Christian. Amid a long search for remedies, I studied to become a secular psychologist, specializing in anxiety assessment and management through applying worldly or human wisdom to myself and others. However, I continued to retreat into a self-refuge of worry and introspection, frequently viewing life’s circumstances as overwhelming. I hid in fear, guilt, shame, and despair of not being able to meet my own perfectionist standards, nor reach God’s and other people’s expectations. At night, I would lay my head on the pillow, welcoming sleep as the only antidote I could find to the exhaustion of living with fear and anxiety. I longed to experience more of the deep joy and the tranquility of heart which is promised throughout the bible (Psalm 32:11; Philippians 4:7) and to find a long-lasting solution that would cut through the chains of sinful bondages to fearful self-preoccupation and other areas that flowed from it.
The solution came wondrously into my life with joyful immersion in the gospel of Jesus Christ and in the perfect wisdom of God (Isaiah 28:29). My anxious heart was gradually transformed from the inside-out (Matthew 15:17-18). Looking daily to the accomplishments of Jesus for us at the cross, I was drawn away by His grace from abiding in anxiety to His refuge of rest and peace that defies human understanding.
“In their misery, they cried out to the Lord, and he saved them from their troubles. 29 He stilled the storm and calmed the waves. 30 They were happy that it was quiet, and God guided them to the port they wanted.” Psalm 107: 28-30
The following devotionals are based around scripture and selected biblical stories from the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Each is seen through the lens of the New Covenant of grace established by Jesus’ finished work at the cross, rather than adherence to human performance as laid down in the preceding Old Covenant (Hebrews 9:15). Together we purposefully fix our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2), sit before and within the healing and empowering scene of the cross. We survey the Son of God’s amazing work of substitution for us in bringing us forgiveness of sin and the gift of eternal life and so much more. Through such worship, our fear is washed away by His amazing love in exchanging our sin-filled lives with His perfection and righteousness:
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
I am truly thankful for God’s grace and mercy throughout this writing, and for the most wonderful encouragement, prayers and gospel partnership with Mike and Jody Cleveland, founders of the gospel-centered ministry of Setting Captives Free, and its Board members: Erick Hurt, Bill Miller, Rob Robertson, and Petrus Zijlstra.