It’s not a huge secret that I am easily given over to anxiety. I think a lot of “Type A” people struggle with the need for control, and we’re prone to feeling very anxious when things seem beyond our ability to manage. (For example, travel nursing by nature is difficult to “control” since we’re kind of flying by the seat of our pants most of the time and our circumstances change every three months – constant changes in hospitals, pay, etc. can easily lead to anxiety over the lack of ability to really plan anything in advance. Sure, it’s a glorious ride most of the time, but it has its stressful moments too).
The thing about life, however, is that it’s frequently beyond our ability to manage. It’s supposed to be this way. Otherwise, we wouldn’t need God. He allows our world to be more than we can handle so that we realize we are dependent on Him to handle all things.
Our Bible readings for today (from our year-long plan of chronologically reading through Scripture) include several Psalms written by David when he’s being falsely accused and pursued by Saul. David’s circumstances definitely seem ripe to produce anxiety!
However, I was struck this morning by the theme of hope in these psalms. Even when faced with attacks and circumstances that are beyond his control and aimed to destroy him, David’s first response is often affirming his trust in the Lord and his belief in God’s goodness. This trust in God’s goodness leads to hope, which leads to the strength he needs to bear his circumstances.
“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:13
Without the belief that we will see God’s goodness (not just hear of it, but see it!), our circumstances will swallow us up with despair because we would be without hope. This trust and belief in His goodness gives us strength to wait on God as our redeemer and sustainer.
“Be strong and let your heart take courage, All you who hope in the Lord.” Psalm 31:24
Hope is again linked to having strength and courage of heart.
“I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4
God will answer me when I seek Him. This exchange, the nearness of His living presence, will deliver me from all my fears because I will be so comforted and strengthened by His love and sovereignty.
“O taste and see that the Lord is good!…They who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing.” Psalm 34:8, 10
All it takes is one “taste” (encounter) with the Living God to see that He is good! If I seek Him, it is not within His nature to withhold any good thing from me. I never have to fear that I am lacking in anything that I need or anything that would benefit me. As my Father, He knows my needs and provides for them. If it has not been provided, I do not need it.
God is good – not just in carefree times, but most especially in all other times! These psalms constantly affirm that His goodness will prevail in the lives of all those who trust Him and fear Him. David faces his uncertain circumstances head on and rather than panic, he finds strength in the belief that God’s goodness is stronger than any bad he may currently face.
What a lesson to me!