Impacting Cities & Communities thru Prayer
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For the past few days I have been dealing with some severe anxiety and depression. Does the Bible say anything about this? It does indeed. In fact the Bible deals more comprehensively with depression than any other source I know. In places like Elijah in the cave in 1 Kings 19 and quite a number of Psalms God shows us that the cause depression can be physical, dietary, cultural, situational, psychological, moral, or spiritual. It is often caused by several of these simultaneously.
And being tempted in all points like us,(Heb.4:15) Jesus also faced anxiety.
God has spoken powerfully to me in John 12:27,28 where Jesus said,
“Now is my heart troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name!" Then a voice came from heaven: ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’”
Let me share with you four crucial perspectives by which Jesus dealt with His own anxiety.
First Jesus saw the Perspective of Time.
He said, “Now is my heart troubled.” Your anxiety, and for that matter your crisis, is temporary.
Viktor Frankl rightly directed people to ask themselves how they would want to behave in a particular situation if they were looking at it from the end of their lives. Jesus clearly dealt with more horrific circumstances then you and I can imagine. He endured them for the joy set before Him.(Heb.12:2) While your reason for anxiety is not nearly as great as His, you will share in the fullness of His glory.
Jesus also saw from the Perspective of Purpose.
He asks, should I pray for God to deliver me from this trial? “But,” He concludes, “it was God's purpose for me to be disturbed in trial.” God has put you in this place as well.
Do you remember what Satan said to God when the Lord pointed out Job’s obedience? “But you've put a hedge about him. Job doesn't really love you. He just serves you because you've made it easy for him.”
You need to be in this place for God to prove that He can work even your anxiety together with everything else for good.
The chorus of Laura Story's hymn, Blessings, says,
“What if Your blessings come through raindrops?
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near?
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?”
You are going through this trial for the high purpose of Almighty God on the earth and in eternity. Stand straight. Be strong. Call upon God for His grace to obey Him in the midst of it.
Jesus prayed from the Perspective of God's Glory.
Jesus knew that His purpose in eternity and upon this Earth was to glorify God the Father. That is our purpose as well. Many of you know that activity, especially good, wholesome, productive activity is a great help in dealing with depression. I know of no activity that so effectively counters anxiety and depression as that of praising God out loud. Our anxiety is worsened because we are so focused on ourselves. And until we break our self-preoccupation with praise of Almighty God, it will keep us bound.
Finally, Jesus experienced God's Presence.
God thundering from the heavens was a rare occurrence, even as Jesus walked upon this Earth. But the presence of God is not rare for a believer in Jesus Christ. And nothing usher's you into nearness with God like recognizing His presence and praising Him, praying and glorifying His Name. When you connect with the reality, purpose, and Glory of God, you will sense His presence as never before. Philippians 4:5 says, “Let your reasonableness be evident to all, the Lord is near.” The King James Bible says, “Let your moderation be evident.” In 1 Timothy 3:3 this word is translated, “gentle.” There the King James used the word, “patient.” The point is, you don't need to be anxious, the Lord is near you.