Diagnoses of anxiety have risen sharply in recent years, but the problem is anything but a modern epidemic. In fact, anxiety is one of the very oldest of human afflictions. The first recorded cases can be traced to the moment Adam and Eve discovered that they were naked and exposed to God (see Genesis 3:10). Many of the best-known people in Scripture experienced bouts of anxiety. Perhaps that’s why God filled His Word with wisdom that speaks to our anxious spirits.
If you find yourself overwhelmed by circumstances or struggling with feelings of anxiety, spend some time in the following passages. You may find the comfort and assurance you need to ease your anxious spirit.
“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13).
No one knows more about the inner workings of your mind and emotions than God does. Spending quiet time with Him on a daily basis will go a long way toward easing an anxious mind.
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” (Matthew 6:25–27).
The source of your anxiety, whatever it is, matters dearly to God. You can leave it to Him. If you need evidence of that, look up and around you. God cares for the birds of the air—the robins, the hummingbirds, even the vultures. Humans have greater value to Him than birds do, so how much more will He pay attention to your needs?
“I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage” (Joshua 1:5–6).
God doesn’t promise to shield us from situations that make us anxious. He doesn’t promise to make worrisome circumstances go away. Instead, He promises to accompany us through every anxiety-ridden situation we face. He gives us the courage, strength, and endurance we need to overcome our anxiety, one battle at a time.
“But I have trusted in Your mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation” (Psalm 13:5).
After crying out to God in anguish, David acknowledges the Lord’s power and plan. Follow his example and place your trust in God, even when anxious thoughts and worries cause you to feel less than trusting.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Anxiety is a heavy burden to carry, so heavy that sometimes it takes all your emotional strength not to buckle under its weight. That can leave you weakened, unable to deal with other responsibilities. Instead of trying to shoulder the burden of anxiety alone, take up the Lord on His offer. Give Him everything that makes you apprehensive or worried. Exchange your heavy load for His rest and peace of mind.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6–7).
Prayer is the most effective weapon we have. No anxiety is too severe for God to handle. No worry is too insignificant for Him to care about. If something affects us or robs us of our joy, God wants us to share it with Him. He wants to counteract it with His peace.
“[Cast] all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
Anxiety is baggage. The more we struggle with it, the heavier it becomes. Trying to carry it alone is exhausting. We may be able to handle it for a while. We may even be able to convince others that we’re not overly exerting ourselves. Eventually, though, the effort will wear us out. Instead of exhausting our own limited strength, why don’t we give our anxieties to someone who can handle them? Not only is Jesus glad to accept them, but He knows exactly what to do with them.
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).
When you see people struggling with anxiety, take time to walk alongside them and provide comfort and peace during their volatile moments. Show them how to give their anxiety to God. Talk about your own experiences with giving your burdens to Him. Let them know that they aren’t alone.
Likewise, when you struggle with anxiety, let someone else help you bear your burdens. Turn to other believers with your struggle. Be open and honest about what you’re experiencing. Don’t hesitate to ask others for assistance. After all, we’re all part of the same body.
For more encouragement from the Word of God, learn more about the Lucado Encouraging Word Bible. The Lucado Encouraging Word Bible is designed to encourage believers along their journey with the Lord. Max Lucado’s warm, conversational style ensures that the marginal notes, short articles, and various study tools meet you where you are, providing encouragement and insight. This Bible will strengthen you as you follow the included reading plan and incorporate this Bible into your daily devotional life. The 30-day study guide will help you jumpstart this practice. This Bible will help you as a believer, and with Pastor Lucado’s gentle yet powerful notes, it’s a beautiful gift for your non-believing friends and family who could use some encouragement with Scripture. Shop now!
How far can we go with verses like this one: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:28)? Does “all things” include tumors and tests and tempers and terminations? John would answer yes. John would tell you that God can turn any tragedy into a triumph, if only you will wait and watch.
Could there have been a greater tragedy for John than a dead Jesus? Three years earlier John had turned his back on his career and cast his lot with this Nazarene carpenter. Earlier in the week John had enjoyed a tickertape parade as Jesus and the disciples entered Jerusalem. Oh, how quickly things had turned! The people who had called Him king on Sunday called for His death the following Friday. These linens were a tangible reminder that his friend and his future were wrapped in cloth and sealed behind a rock.
John didn’t know on that Friday what you and I now know. He didn’t know that Friday’s tragedy would be Sunday’s triumph. John would later confess that he “did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead” (John 20:9).
That’s why what he did on Saturday is so important.
We don’t know anything about this day; we have no passage to read, no knowledge to share. All we know is this: When Sunday came, John was still present. When Mary Magdalene came looking for him, she found him.
Jesus was dead. The Master’s body was lifeless. John’s friend and future were buried. But John had not left. Why? Was he waiting for the resurrection? No. As far as he knew, the lips were forever silent and the hands forever still. He wasn’t expecting a Sunday surprise. Then why was he here?
You’d think he would have left. Who was to say that the men who crucified Christ wouldn’t come after him? The crowds were pleased with one crucifixion; the religious leaders might have called for more. Why didn’t John get out of town?
Perhaps the answer was pragmatic; perhaps he was taking care of Jesus’ mother. Or perhaps he didn’t have anywhere else to go. Could be he didn’t have any money or energy or direction . . . or all of the above.
Or maybe he lingered because he loved Jesus.
To others, Jesus was a miracle worker. To others, Jesus was a master teacher. To others, Jesus was the hope of Israel. But to John, He was all of these and more. To John, Jesus was a friend.
You don’t abandon a friend—not even when that friend is dead. John stayed close to Jesus.
He had a habit of doing this. He was close to Jesus in the upper room. He was close to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was at the foot of the Cross at the crucifixion, and he was a quick walk from the tomb at the burial.
Did he understand Jesus? No.
Was he glad Jesus did what He did? No.
But did he leave Jesus? No.
What about you? When you’re in John’s position, what do you do? When it’s Saturday in your life, how do you react? When you are somewhere between yesterday’s tragedy and tomorrow’s triumph, what do you do? Do you leave God—or do you linger near Him?
Which takes us back to the question. Could God do something similar in your life? Could He take what today is a token of tragedy and turn it into a symbol of triumph? Do you feel like God’s abandoned you? Don’t give up! Pray that He will give you the patience to see the situation through, and thank Him in advance for what He is going to do.
Content in this post taken from The Lucado Encouraging Word Bible. The Lucado Encouraging Word Bible is designed to encourage believers along their journey with the Lord. Max Lucado’s warm, conversational style ensures that the marginal notes, short articles, and various study tools meet you where you are, providing encouragement and insight. This Bible will strengthen you as you follow the included reading plan and incorporate this Bible into your daily devotional life. The 30-day study guide will help you jumpstart this practice. This Bible will help you as a believer, and with Pastor Lucado’s gentle yet powerful notes, it’s a beautiful gift for your non-believing friends and family who could use some encouragement with Scripture.
In this season of giving thanks, here are a few Scriptures you can use to prepare your heart, share your gratefulness with others, and meditate on while the busyness of the holiday swirls around you.
“Blessed are You, Lord God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever.
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness,
The power and the glory,
The victory and the majesty;
For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;
Yours is the kingdom, O Lord,
And You are exalted as head over all.
Both riches and honor come from You,
And You reign over all.
In Your hand is power and might;
In Your hand it is to make great
And to give strength to all.
“Now therefore, our God,
We thank You
And praise Your glorious name.”
I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart;
I will tell of all Your marvelous works.
I will be glad and rejoice in You;
I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.
Oh, give thanks to the Lord!
Call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples!
Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him;
Talk of all His wondrous works!
Glory in His holy name;
Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord!
Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
For He satisfies the longing soul,
And fills the hungry soul with goodness.
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
Then out of them shall proceed thanksgiving
And the voice of those who make merry;
I will multiply them, and they shall not diminish;
I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small.
And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted.
For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
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October’s Pastor Appreciation emphasis in many churches is a good reminder to pray for our servant-leaders during the month, of course. But these godly men and women stand in need of prayer every single day. Use these prayers as a starting point in your prayer time this month but let them also help you develop a lifelong pattern of lifting your pastor to the Lord.
Numbers 6:24-26—“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”
Thank you for sending our pastor to shepherd the church. I’m grateful for the love you put in the pastor’s heart for You and Your people. I appreciate the unique set of gifts and talents that enrich the pastor’s ministry and bless our church. Would You, in turn, bless the pastor today? Help the pastor to sense Your presence in such a sweet way. Fill the pastor up, Lord and use the pastor for Your glory today. And show me how I can support and encourage. Thanking You for this good leader, I pray this in Jesus’ name.
Joshua 1:9—“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
My pastor’s on the front line; an easy target for the enemy and his minions. My pastor’s preaching the Word faithfully from the platform each week as a community leader, and a completely sold out servant to You. Dear Holy Spirit, empower the pastor this day to boldly proclaim the truth of Your Word. Help the pastor not to grow weary in well-doing or to fall away but provide grace upon grace. I’m thanking You in advance for what You will do in and through our pastor this very day, in Jesus’ name.
Proverbs 3:5-6—“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
Thank you for a pastor that seeks You with a whole heart. The pastor’s singular desire, Lord, is to serve and please You. So, Father, show the pastor the way. Give the pastor Your vision. Grant Your clarity. Make the complex simple. And then give the pastor boldness to step out in faith to accomplish Your plans for our ministry and for our church. It’s easy to be distracted by many voices, so Father let the pastor hear but one voice, and let that voice be Yours. These things I pray with hope and expectation, in Jesus’ name.
Galatians 6:9—“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
Even though my pastor serves our church with what seems like boundless energy, no one is a superhuman; I know the pastor gets really weary. The demands on the body and spirit are nearly unending. Would You let my pastor find respite and relaxation from the day? Would You clear the mind, give a good sleep tonight, and refreshment for another day of kingdom service? Bless my pastor, oh Lord, for faithfulness and offer blessings with a new day to continue in faithfully service to You.
Matthew 6:33—“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
There will be hundreds of distractions in my pastor’s life today—fires to put out, unexpected twists and turns, and the noise and clutter of the world. I know that the deceiver will do anything he can to keep my pastor from study, prayer, and service. So, I lift my pastor up to You, dear Lord, asking You to help keep the main thing the main thing. Give “blinders” so that my pastor is keenly focused on You and on Your purpose for life and ministry this day. In Jesus’ name.
James 1:5-6—“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.”
I come to you today interceding for my pastor. I know there will be many important decisions that must be made, many words that must be chosen carefully, many needs that must be answered. It’s a day that the pastor can’t handle with only human abilities. The pastor needs Your wisdom and Your guidance. Only You know what today will bring, and only You know what the demands will be. Meet them, oh Lord, and give the pastor just what is needed, just when it’s needed. I’m thanking you, in Jesus’ name.
John 13: 34-35—“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Dear Holy Spirit,
Today I pray for the fruits of the spirit in my pastor’s life—that love, joy, peace, and patience will guide; that kindness and goodness will be companions; that faithfulness will be the motto, and that gentleness and self-control will be evident to all. Help the pastor to see each person today through Your eyes. And help them to see You in the pastor. I love you, Lord, and I thank you for my pastor, in Jesus’ name.