Fear, Anxiety, and Growth in Godliness
Ed Welch is the author of a wonderful book titled Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest. A few years back in the offices of the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation in Philadelphia, I asked him, What does anxiety say about our spiritual condition, and how should we respond in moments of fear and worry? Here’s how Dr. Welch responded.
Mark 4 and Matthew 13 talk about the parable of the sower and the seed. And it slips in this one little comment about how the worries of life can be one of the encumbrances to spiritual receptivity and spiritual growth.
So that immediately puts it high profile. So if you are a person like myself who is real familiar with anxieties and worries, it says this is an important spiritual matter. So right off the bat it is an important one.
I think one reason this Scripture identifies it as an important one is that so often, fears and anxieties create this world where the only thing that exists is myself and the threat to the thing that I love. And the thing that I love can be something very good: It is my life. It is food. It is sustenance. It is my spouse. So it doesn’t have to be a bad object, necessarily. But so often fears condense life to those two things. And God is functionally not there — at least that is my own experience.
God With You
And as far as I can tell from looking at other texts, Scripture seems to suggest the same thing. Because so often one of the ways out of fears and anxieties is we have a personal God. Speak with him. Speak with him.
It is simple, but for those who struggle with fears and anxieties, if they find that they are more and more quickly able to move from this world that is very, very small — it is just them and their anxieties — to speaking out to the Lord, that is the mark of wonderful, powerful sanctification.