February 11, 2020
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV 1984).
When I entered the examining room, she looked brighter than I had remembered. Her hair was thinning with red curls covering her scalp.
“So, I see you did not visit the psychologist we set up for your depression,” I said.
“That’s all better,” she replied. “I just took all those depressing thoughts when they came and immediately began to thank God for the good things He has done for me. The depression just gradually went away.”
We know depression is a true biological illness, related both to environmental stressors and chemical reactions within our brains. Most of us have been through periods of depression; some suffer a great deal from prolonged episodes of such illness and require medications and counseling to allow us to function well within our professions. I thank God for the psychiatrists who help make so many whole again with their skills and science.
Many of us, like the patient above, are overwhelmed at times with oppressive thoughts and anxieties that do not rise to the level of clinical depression. They keep us awake at night and limit our ability to function during the day. Paul suggests a pathway to relieve us of such anxieties, described in the words he wrote to the Philippians:
- Open your hearts to God and tell Him what you need.
- Thank Him for all He has done, even as you ask for more.
- Throw yourself into the joy of His arms, for He is with you—the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
The difference between concern and worry is fear.
“Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe’” (Mark 5:36, NIV 1984).
Oh, I need you now.