Drilling Down to the True Source of Our Anxiety

Lonely alcoholic in a winter jacket sits on the roof in fear covers his face with his hands

The introspective Christian knows that there is almost always a question behind our question. Further, that question behind our question is almost always a theological one. It’s a question about what we believe masquerading as a practical question. Here’s how that works:

We might have some anxious questions about our job outlook in the new year. The front of mind question is very practical: “Will I have a job this year?” But the question behind the question is theological in nature: Can I really trust God to provide for my needs?

Another example: The front of mind, practical question is this: “Am I ever going to find someone I love and get married?” The question behind the question might be something like, “Is my friendship with Jesus really going to be enough for me to be joyful and satisfied?”

This doesn’t invalidate the front of mind questions. Those are practical questions that need to be answered. But it does help us to see the condition of our hearts – to think about what misshapen beliefs that are really driving our questions and anxiety about the future.

In light of this, then, is there something at the heart level that might be primarily driving our anxiety? Consider with me the great truth found in Romans 8:

What, then, are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He did not even spare his own Son but gave him up for us all. How will he not also with him grant us everything? (Rom. 8:31-32).

In response to what things? Well, the first eleven chapters of romans contain a litany of God’s blessings in the gospel. But more specifically, Paul has spent the previous verses in chapter 8 reminding us of some very specific and glorious blessings:

  • There is no condemnation for the Christian.
  • The Spirit lives within us.
  • We are the adopted children of God.
  • As such, we are co-heirs with Christ.
  • The Spirit intercedes for us.
  • God is working all things for our good.

And the list could go on. Those are just some of “these things.” And in light of these things, Paul drew the inescapable conclusion that if God is for us, who is against us? To put an exclamation point on the whole thing, He brings us to the demonstrated evidence of God’s love and advocacy:

He did not even spare his own Son but gave him up for us all. How will he not also with him grant us everything?

Paul’s argument is simple: God has already given us the most precious, the most valuable, the most dear thing He ever could – the life of His Son Jesus. In light of that gift, it would be ludicrous for us to think He would not also give us the rest of these blessings. What are all the rest of these things in comparison to the life of His Son?

This is the battle cry against anxiety. It’s not that “things will work out.” It’s not “what’s the worst that could happen?” It’s not even making contingency plans and preparing for every conceivable eventuality. The real power to overcome anxiety is this – that surely God will take care of our practical questions and needs, in the way He sees fit in His wisdom, given that He has already given us the life of His Son.

If, then, we are struggling with anxiety, we would do well to recognize that maybe – just maybe – we need to put more stock in the sacrifice of Jesus. That perhaps if we valued the sacrifice of Jesus as much as it is truly worth then we would say with confidence, “In light of what God has done, how will He not also do everything else I need?”

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