Christianity is not a new thing for me. I have always been aware of Jesus and He has always been a pretty good friend of mine. I would say He is a better friend to me than I am to Him, go figure. I had an old friend from high school ask me the other day, “When did you become so religious?” His comment was definitely humbling since I have always been a strong Christian and assumed everybody knew it. However, when I really think about my walk with God and the progression it has taken, college is where I discovered all that God was capable of and I still continue to grow in faith every single day. My high school self was pretty lukewarm when it came to her Christianity.
One reason my faith has grown so much since high school is because I have experienced actual pain since then. Now, my high school self would object to this; however, my adult self knows it gets much worse than getting a bad grade or a speeding ticket. My anxious self knows exactly how bad it can get.
Anxiety has always been a pretty close friend of mine as well. She can be very clingy, but she also only comes around on her time schedule. I wasn’t even really aware of her until she came with a vengeance and refused to leave about three years ago. When I think about it, she introduced herself to me in fifth grade, but I don’t really like to think about it. Nowadays, I am extremely aware of and frustrated by her presence. Most of the time she is fairly quiet, keeping to herself. Every now and then, she exhibits incredibly ostentatious behavior and ruins many consecutive days for me.
Since I discovered the areas of my life in which anxiety tends to make herself at home, I have prayed. I have asked God to help me through it, stay by my side, and give me peace. I prayed these prayers with very little change in my attitude toward anxiety. She was still there and I was still ignoring her, that is, when she allowed it.
It wasn’t until recently that I realized what my prayers were lacking. They were lacking faith, relentless, passionate, unassailable faith. In all my entreaties to the Lord about anxiety, I had never once prayed for Him to take her away from me, to remove her from my life, to break the bond between myself and this unwanted friend. I had never prayed for healing. I have only come up with one explanation for this: I lack the faith that God can transform me into a woman who does not recognize anxiety, but who is very familiar with peace. Jesus says, “My peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Despite this promise, I accepted long ago that anxious would be a word many would use to describe me for the rest of my life. I accepted long ago that my children would assume illogical and irrational fears are normal, because mom has them. I accepted long ago that I would need to depend on my husband when anxiety torments me. Then, one day, God showed me that this did not have to be true. He reminded me of the immense power He has over my life, the world, the universe.
It is important to note, here, that God’s healing on earth is not a surety. I continue to pray for freedom from anxiety, but still struggle with it occasionally. God does not guarantee that, with the right faith, we will not suffer. In fact, He promises that we will suffer. Jesus says, “…In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). However, I can have faith that God has a plan for my suffering. His plan may be to free me from it, or He may be glorified through this trial. Either way, I will be triumphant over anxiety, and will find complete healing in Heaven.
This hole in my faith, this uncertainty of God’s total mastery over all things, was difficult to recognize and I know I am not the only one with this gap. Many Christians do not comprehend or acknowledge the immeasurable and infinite power of God, despite the frequent references to it in the Bible. The stress of election time, the torture of sickness, the hardness of a Godless heart–all of these things cause us to forget that the Lord reigns in everything. We serve a Father who can and will heal us. He will heal our bodies, our nation, and our families. I guarantee He will not do it on our timetable or in our way, but I also guarantee He will do it. We hold back in our prayers because we do not feel we deserve for the Lord to exercise His authority for us. We have heard countless times of His power, but we have closed our minds to what He can truly do. The God of the Universe loves you the most; the God who creates thunder, the God who speaks and the whole earth trembles, the God who built mountains that touch the sky–it is this God who works for your good (Romans 8:28). It is this God who hears your prayers and listens intently to the intricacies of your heart. Pray to Him with no reservations and no doubts–pray to Him with a fanatical intensity, as if He holds every problem and every solution in His hands, as if He is the beginning and the end, as if He is the Savior of the world, the Father of all things, and the Spirit that lives inside of you.
**Some of my favorite verses about the Power of God**
“‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’” says the Lord. “‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” ~Isaiah 55:8-9
“‘Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements?…Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?’” ~Job 38:4-7
“He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.” ~Psalm 147:4