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Days of Anxiety

by | Jul 8, 2021 | Quotation

“The fact is that, while all ages are not identical, they are all full of sin, and so full of anxiety. Things are not as they were in the original creation nor as they will be in the new heaven and new earth. Anxiety is a part of the Fall. This is true even for the regenerate. The apostle Paul was anxious for all the churches (2 Cor. 11:28).

The worst response to anxiety may well be to try to take control of events in a wrong-headed way. There is a measure of peace in knowing that we do not know what tomorrow will bring (James 4:14). We tend to overdo it these days, and concoct Five-Year Plans and the like. These occupy somebody’s time and energies, but they may have little connection to reality. This is not to say that we do not plan; we do, Paul, for example, expressed the hope that he could spend some extended time with the Corinthian church ‘if the Lord permits’ (1 Cor. 16:7). What Paul intended (2 Cor. 1:15) did not always come about (2 Cor. 1:23). For that change of mind, he was roundly criticized, but he was in the habit of making serious, yet flexible, plans.

When a political leader declares with Churchillian gusto that ‘We will get through this because we are Australians [ed. or Americans],’ we ought to recognize that for what it is: hot air. The Psalmist took solace in God: ‘My times are in your hand’ (Psa. 31:15a). Rejoice, for this means that our times are not in our hands. The times may be troubled—they usually are—but there is peace in knowing that they are in God’s hands, even if that means that we do not know what will happen tomorrow. A true divine peace is better than a counterfeit human security.

Our task now, as always, is not to control the future but to be faithful in the present. Blaise Pascal noted the human condition: ‘I discovered that all the unhappiness of man stems from one thing, that he cannot remain alone in a room.’ Anxiety comes more from within than from without. Isolation and a sense of abandonment will grieve many, but we must try not to be overcome by what we cannot control. Paul sought to be found faithful (1 Cor. 4:2), and he knew the grace of Christ was sufficient (2 Cor. 12:9).”

Barnes, Peter. “Living in an Age of Anxiety,” Banner of Truth Magazine, 694 July 2021, 27-28.

Frank Jones

Pastor, Exhorter, Cyclist

Frank Jones is presently pastor at Faith Memorial Baptist Church in Chesterfield, Virginia.