Anxiety, Fear, and Worry
By Terry Cheek
McDowell County, NC
Charles Swindoll tells a story about himself taking a trip across the country alone. He was leaving California heading east. Having arrived at the state line with Arizona, Charles stopped at a roadside gas station to freshen up before moving on. While there he met a man, who struck up a conversation with him. During their chat, Charles mentioned he was going east. The stranger tried to impose a ride. Charles, not knowing the man, told him he was traveling alone. The man kept insisting but Charles kept denying his request. Charles finally got back to his car and noticed some items in the back seemed out of place. While driving down the road Charles’s mind kept drifting to the back, asking himself if the stranger was hiding. He remembered having a large adjustable wrench under the seat. Slowly reaching under the seat to grasp it Charles held it tightly. Then stopping along the side of the road he opened the car door, started dragging everything out with the wrench held ready for a fight. But no one was there. Several cars had passed and witnessed his behavior, he repacked the car and drove on, humbled at how he had behaved in front of so many people out of anxiety, fear, and worry.
If we honestly examine the facts being played out in front of us daily and genuinely look for truth, we quickly see a nation being overcome with anxiety, fear, and worry. I’m not going to focus on politics, though it does play a role in the situation, I will say this, politics is one of many paths that fear, worry and anxiety can travel. Alongside politics sit our health, crime and violence, finances, and truly everything in this world can lead to anxiety, fear, and worry. I am reminded of a thought from Author Somers Roche, “Anxiety is a thin stream of fear, trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.”
Fear is mentioned 400 times in the King James Bible. The first mention is in Genesis 9:2 where we read “And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.” Here God informs Noah that as the earth is replenished the relationship between animals and people will be different. Fear translates the Hebrew word which is a sense of fear or awe that causes separation or brings respect. Over this 400 times, fear is applied in many ways. Some of them are fear of the LORD, fear of other people or situations, fear of Satan, or fear of something we have created.
When we consider the fear of the LORD one of my favorite verses is Proverbs 15:27 “The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.” Think about all your anxiety, fear, and worry as being the snares of death. A snare is a simple device. One used to capture and kill nuisance pests. Once caught in a snare there are only two ends. One is death the other is to be rescued or redeemed by someone having grace and mercy, the Lord Jesus Christ. When we read “The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life,” we read about grace and mercy.
Friend, we are always going to be tempted by anxiety, fear, and worry in this world. What we do with that temptation will determine how others, even the LORD see us. We can look like Charles Swindoll standing on the side of the road emptying our possessions looking for something we cannot see, or we can move forward with faith. Faith is strengthened by the temptation of anxiety, fear, and worry. Remember fear can cause separation or respect, it can separate you from God or build greater respect for God.
Until we meet again, in print or in person, may God bless you is my prayer.
Terry is the Executive Director and broadcaster of The Inspiring Word media ministry. You can contact Terry by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.