Anxious thoughts can flood your mind so fast you feel like three white river rapids are converging in your head. The thoughts seem to compete with each other for top billing. Before one is out the next is screaming, “no, no, this is much more awful than that silly thought. Now here’s a worst case scenario for you…”
Soon your muscles are tense, your blood pressure is rising, your mouth is set in a grim line, and your eyes are flashing about darkly. Whoa be to anyone who happens upon you in this state, especially a child who spills a glass of milk or a driver who hesitates as a light turns green. Anxious thoughts; they multiply faster than little bunnies.
God has an antidote for anxious thoughts. He wants to replace the anxious thoughts with his consolations which will delight your soul instead of terrorize it. The first time this scripture really grabbed me I was in a real stew and I could see that here God was offering a solution to me but I couldn’t quite grasp what it was. What consolations was he talking about? I began to think and pray about it and ask him to reveal his consolations.
God’s Word is his consolation for anxiety.
We can read any line of scripture and know it isn’t just another opinion but it is the absolute bottom line truth. So when it says, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5) we can take that right to the bank. Or when we read, “I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11) we can face an uncertain future with real hope. And what about “Let not your heart be troubled”? (John 14:1) We can know it is possible to put away the troubles of the heart; we don’t have to accept a destiny of worry or anxiety.
God’s character is his consolation
God is all-knowing, all-powerful, all-present and all-loving. What does he lack? NOTHING. Who wouldn’t want to be best friends with him? Talk about an inside track. Thinking about the bigness of God causes us to see the smallness of our own troubles.
God’s sacrifice is his consolation
If we have any doubt about God’s love for us in light of whatever our current troubles are, we can dispel that with thoughts about his incredible sacrifice on the cross in order to secure the most abundant life for us. “I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) Something that costly must have purchased a mighty big prize. We are his prize. Anxious thoughts should disintegrate as we meditate on that nugget.
Knowing that God has an antidote for anxiety is the first step to our soul’s delight and knowing what some of his consolations are is the second step. The third step is ACTUALLY PUTTING IT INTO PRACTICE. I have that in caps because you need to shake yourself a little right now and re-read that line. If you have never tried to discipline your mind before you are in for a real battle. It is a battle you can win.
If anxious thoughts have been riding roughshod over your mind for months or years or a whole lifetime you will need to build a new road. Imagine a one lane dirt highway with deep ruts where a car has been traveling back and forth for twenty years. Now you are told to ride that road and not hit those ruts. You are building new habits, developing new thought patterns. You are saying “NO” to some thoughts which try to enter your mind. You are placing a permission gate at the entrance of your mind which rejects anxiety and accepts God’s consolations.
Don’t ask God to take away the anxious thoughts or pray that you won’t have them anymore. YOU control it. That is not to say that you should not call upon the Lord to help you and to fill you with his presence which will dispel the darkness. Cry out to him and tell him of all of your struggles and ask for his strength which he will freely give. You are actually the one though, who has final authority over what thoughts you allow and disallow.
As the weeks and months go by you will see progress on your new road to stress and anxiety relief. I encourage you to keep trying. Fill your mind so full of truth and of your relationship with the Lord that there is not any room for anything else. Keep meditating on his consolations and post a “Keep Out” sign for anything else.