Anxiety is the gear that turns the world – it is the natural response to so many inexplicable things that are happening, and it is the driving force behind our economy. Anxiety is everywhere and in everyone. What can we do then to combat such a burdensome condition? Do we rely on the strength of our wills and depend on the fortitude of our minds when hardships and stressors afflict us? This week during the Sunday Fellowship with Irvine Christian Students, we learned that attributes such as meekness and kindness accompany a forbearing life. We also recalled that we were each created as vessels to contain God, just as a Coca Cola bottle was made to contain Coca Cola. Like a glove, made in the image of a hand so that it could eventually be filled with a hand, man was made in the image of God so that man could be filled with God; thus, God wants to come in and fill us. As human beings created in God’s image to express God, so also we express certain virtues He possesses such as love, kindness, patience, and righteousness.
God indeed wants to fill us – in fact He wants to load us with good! Mark 10:18 tells us that
“no one is good except One – God.”
Psalm 69:19 says,
“Blessed be the Lord, who day by day loads us with good; God is our salvation.”
If day by day, we allow God to “load” us with good, with Himself as good, He will become a daily salvation to us. If we want to be saved from anxiety and ultimately live a life of forbearance, the way is not to struggle for or seek refuge in the comfort of external and material things, nor to endure our circumstances by way of conjuring up what patience and tolerance is in us. These will run out and fall short. Rather, we ought to let the Lord fill us as the forbearing One with unending patience and unlimited tolerance.
If God intends for us to live a life of forbearance, why then do we encounter hardships and experience affliction in our lives? We can turn to examples of people in the Bible who the Lord gained during very specific circumstances in their lives. We learned that every situation is divinely planned and assigned to us. Isn’t that a wonderful realization? In the Old Testament, prior to having a son, it does not mention that Enoch walked with God. When he was 65 years old he begot Methuselah and began walking with God (Genesis 5:22-24). His walk with God lasted about 300 years before he was taken by God. Enoch took raising a child as his assignment and through this assignment he began to walk with God. In the New Testament, Peter was, quite literally, assigned a circumstance by God – one characterized by strong, contrary winds (Matthew 14:22-33). Just as Peter was instructed to go across the sea, oftentimes, the Lord sends us towards a certain situation or direction that, to our dismay, may be full of contrary winds. I appreciated this segment in the chapter when Peter stepped off the boat and walked towards the Lord, who at first the disciples thought was a ghost (v. 26). We can see that in this incident, Peter is a good pattern in both his victory and failure. Although he was at first frightened, Peter still exercised some faith and told the Lord that if it was Him, to call him to walk on the water towards Him (v. 28); when he was bid by the Lord to come closer to Him, Peter took a step of faith, which allowed the Lord to enter into his situation. As a result of his willingness, despite his doubt, Peter was able to still experience the Lord amidst uncertainty and contrary winds.
Peter began to sink because he looked at the contrary winds (v. 30), however he should have kept his eyes on Jesus. Similarly, the way for us to overcome our various trying situations is to keep our eyes on Jesus. Actually if we would realize that all circumstances are assigned by God so that we can be gained by God and so that we can gain God, then we would be able to live a life free of anxiety. Knowing now that everything that comes our way is actually assigned by the Lord in His great sovereignty should assure us that, although we may not realize what He is doing at the moment, it will turn out to our salvation.
-RW, 4th year, Human Biology