Is it possible to experience peace amid turbulence? You don’t have to go looking too hard before finding things that stir your anxiety and are a cause for concern. What you need are Bible verses about anxiety.
Whether it’s anxiety about political and social issues, concern for your children and their welfare, wondering about your finances and career prospects, worrying about the economy, or dealing with relationship issues, there are many temptations toward feeling anxious.
Anxiety is how your body responds naturally to stressful and potentially life-threatening situations. When you feel anxious, you may have feelings of tension, and your mind circles around an issue.
Your body may undergo physical changes like increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, sweating, fatigue, increased awareness of your surroundings, or difficulty falling and staying asleep. You may find yourself feeling afraid or apprehensive about your future and things to come.
The tricky thing about anxiety is that our bodies have the same reaction whether we’re feeling apprehensive about a job interview, or if we find ourselves in danger from a vehicle while crossing the street. These anxious feelings come and go, and they usually go away without having to do much about it.
However, it’s possible to have feelings of anxiety that linger and that begin to interfere with your daily activities. These may be a lot harder to control and appear to be severely disproportionate to the situation.
If you find that you begin avoiding places or situations to prevent experiencing these feelings, it may be that you have an anxiety disorder. You should speak with your doctor or a mental health professional for a diagnosis.
Your anxiety doesn’t have to rule over you. The everyday situations that can appear threatening don’t have to overwhelm you. Here are some Bible verses about anxiety.
Helpful Bible Verses About Anxiety
During the pandemic, one of the Bible verses about anxiety that many people turned to for comfort was Psalm 91. This psalm is an expression of confidence in the protection and care of the Lord amid terrifying and anxiety-inducing circumstances. As we witnessed the number of Covid-19 cases climbing, and as it dawned on us how serious the situation was across the globe, our collective anxieties rose.
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. – Psalm 91:1-6, NIV
During the pandemic, these verses from Psalm 91 spoke to the fears of a people facing an unfamiliar threat with which they didn’t know how to deal. The themes of the Psalm that speak to safety, protection, and God’s faithfulness were an encouragement to many then, and they can continue to be an encouragement to you now as you face daily struggles and anxieties.
Our anxieties are often centered around unknown future possibilities. When we don’t know what lies ahead of us, that uncertainty makes us nervous. To be fair, sometimes when we can make a good guess at the things to come, that too can make anxieties rise up within us. Psalm 139 is a remarkable passage of the Bible that reassures us of God’s intimate knowledge about our lives.
The psalm begins with the recognition that God knows our every move and thought, and He knows us so well that He can anticipate our every word before we utter it. “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain,” (Psalm 139:6 NIV)
The psalm continues, reminding the reader that God’s knowledge of us is so intimate because He knit each human being together in his or her mother’s womb. In the course of our lives, there is nowhere we can go to escape the Lord’s presence and guidance.
Our past, present, and future are laid out before God. The psalmist says, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:16, NIV)
Even though the Lord knows us so well, and even though we can walk securely in the paths the Lord sets for us because we trust that He knows the end of our story from the beginning, we waver and struggle to keep anxiety at bay. The presence of those we count as “enemies” in our lives can have us respond with fear, but the psalm ends with a request:
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. – Psalm 139:23-24, NIV
We can invite the Lord to sift our hearts and alert us to our anxieties and their root causes. Since the Lord knows us so well, He is best placed to do this and to strengthen us to trust yet again in who He is for us in this life and in the next.
1 Peter 5:6-7
The Bible gives us no illusion that nothing untoward will happen to us. Instead, we are given many warnings that not only is the world not safe, but it can and will be particularly hostile toward those that choose to follow Jesus.
Jesus reminded his followers that since He was persecuted, His followers should expect nothing less. After all, as he told them the night before he was crucified, “Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.” (John 15:20, ESV)
It’s a good reminder to us that faithfulness to Jesus will likely result in the same kind of treatment he received – a warm welcome in some quarters, but profound rejection in others.
Jesus’ early disciples took this to heart, and they experienced the reality of Jesus’ words. Peter, one of Jesus’ closest disciples, wrote the letter that we call 1 Peter to Christians scattered across the region of what we now call the Republic of Turkey. They faced much hardship and persecution for following Jesus, and among some of Peter’s remarks are these precious words:
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:6-7, ESV
These believers faced social pressure to abandon the message of Jesus, not to mention the possibility of imprisonment and being displaced from their homes. These were all reasons to be anxious. No one wants to lose their friends, get turned out of their home, or lose their liberty or their life, but that is the pressure they faced.
Peter’s encouragement to them was to trust the Lord even in these circumstances by casting their cares on the Lord. In other words, they are to unburden themselves with concerns about their circumstances but rest in the knowledge that God cares for them.
The last passage is the classic passage on anxiety, and for good reason. Paul wrote his letter to the Christians in the city of Philippi while he was in prison. Throughout the letter, Paul draws their attention to role models for the Philippians to emulate, including Jesus in his humility.
Paul, who had been arrested because of the gospel message, urges his readers to “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4, ESV) You’d expect that a man in shackles and with bleak future prospects would be more dour or nervous, not encouraging joy in others.
Paul shares how to deal with anxiety by turning to the Lord in prayer and thanksgiving, trusting him to cover us with a mind-boggling peace that makes a prisoner like Paul rejoice even in dire circumstances.
Paul wrote, “The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:5-7, ESV).
Getting Help with Anxiety
Anxiety is complex, and it can require the wise intervention of a mental health professional in those cases when it affects daily living. Through patient listening and attention to your story, a Christian counselor can help you uncover the roots of your anxiety. Your counselor can help you make sense of your anxiety and provide you with tools to cope with anxiety so that you live your life with the peace and freedom from care that God desires for His children.
The Bible verses about anxiety above can help you begin to rethink your world and responses to the situations you face. Anxiety can be replaced with humble trust in God, thanksgiving, and prayer.
If you need help beyond these Bible verses about anxiety to begin casting your anxieties and cares upon the Lord so that you can live in the peace of God, don’t hesitate to reach out to a counselor to schedule an initial, risk-free appointment to start your journey.
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