There is a lot of anxiety gripping America and the entire world today. Do you remember the TV show “Hee-Haw?” And do you remember a song heard regularly on that show? “Gloom, despair, and agony on me. Deep, dark depression, excessive misery. If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all. Gloom, despair, and agony on me.” That could be our universal theme song today, except it’s no longer funny.
Unceasing anxiety leads to extremes: extreme thinking, extreme fear, extreme gloom, extreme despair, extreme agony, extreme misery, extreme depression, extreme darkness, extreme action. It can also get us so worked up that we come to believe we are capable of doing something about it all. We need to take control. If we really want to change things, we can. Make a list of everything that worries us, that makes us anxious, and then work our way through the list until it’s all fixed.
I don’t mean to say that we can’t do anything, that we are helpless, that all we can do is sit on our hands. But let’s face it. We humans are, well, human. One could make a pretty good argument that the reason the world is in such a mess is because of humans.
In Philippians 4:6, Paul wrote: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” In every situation. With thanksgiving. Ask God.
Of course, we are God’s hands, feet, eyes, ears, people in this world. So we should listen for God, be led by his Spirit and, as best we can, do his will. But God is first–not us. If we are burdened with fear and anxiety, it may just be too hard for us to hear God and follow him. We might end up listening to ourselves or following some other humans.
Praying to God in every situation will clear our minds. It will alleviate our anxiety. It just might lead us to the medicine that cures the problems making us so fearful–medicine like what is found in Matthew 7:12: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)
In every situation. In everything.