In a recent Church Council meeting our Pastor used the following quote –
“Fear sees a threat, anxiety images it” (Max Lucado from his book Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World)
Lucado is a Christian author and speaker who used that phrase back in 2017 as part of a Bible study presentation about Paul’s letter to the Philippians Chapter 4 verses 6-7, in which Paul said “be anxious about nothing.” You can read all about Max Lucado and see the books that he has written at maxlucado.com.
He went on to say, “The presence of anxiety is unavoidable, but the prison of anxiety is optional. It’s the life of perpetual anxiety that Paul wants to address. Don’t let anything in life leave you perpetually in angst.”
How prophetic were Paul’s words (and those of Lucado) when viewed from the context or our current pandemic environment. We can’t see the threat that the COVID-19 virus presents, we only see the results in the nightly news show; so our anxiety takes over and we imagine the threat as it might apply to us personally.
I have often written here about what I called “the dungeon of despair”, which Lucado calls the “prison of anxiety”. This is a mental prison, not a physical one; but it is a bad place to allow yourself to become trapped, nonetheless.
Lucado talks of the key to being calm in the face of a chaotic world is found in one’s faith. If anxiety imagines a threat where none can be seen, faith provides the calm place to go in the midst of that anxiety. Anxiety tries to cause us to see nowhere to turn in the face of the threat, but the Bible tells us –
“Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)
“He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)
Sometimes we need a simple way to envision God’s love and care for us. Maybe you can find that by visualizing this passage from Isaiah 49:16 – “I have written your name on the palms of my hand.”
Just imagine God walking around with your name tattooed in the palm of his hand. Find comfort and calm in the thought that God is holding you in the palm of his hands and then say to yourself – If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)
Don’t let fear take over and lead to anxiety; rather, find your calm in the midst of the current chaos by using your imagination to strengthen your faith. Visualize your name written in the palm of God’s hand. Imagine that!
Be at peace.