Summary: Contrary to what many want to believe, people (saved and unsaved) will experience anxiety.
Contrary to what many want to believe, people (saved and unsaved) will experience anxiety. The Bible instructs us “not to be anxious for anything.” However, there are times when we find this to be impractical and unrealistic. The standard sermon on anxiety runs something like this: it is a sin to worry, we shouldn’t do it but we do. Here’s the question. What do you do when a faith-believing child of God experiences anxiety? First and foremost realize that you can’t conquer that which you are ignorant of. So, what is anxiety and what causes anxiety? Webster defines anxiety as a painful or apprehensive uneasiness of mind usually over an anticipated or impending situation or a strong fearful concern. Anxiety is often triggered by real and/or imaginary fears and stress in our lives. One may experience anxiety in the form of apprehension, uneasiness, fretfulness, and extreme concern over matters that are totally out of one’s control. Anxiety affects our whole being. It affects how we feel, how we behave and has very real physical symptoms; symptoms like:
·Excessive, ongoing worry and tension
·An unrealistic view of problems
·Restlessness or a feeling of being "edgy"
·The need to go to the bathroom frequently
·Trouble falling or staying asleep
·Being easily startled
This past week was very stressful for my co-workers and me. We were faced with a situation that was totally out of our control. While we encouraged one another, uneasiness, fretfulness, apprehension set in. I believe anxiety set in because we were no longer (for a moment) in control of our destiny; we were caught between a rock and a hard place; we were caught in the middle of bureaucratic garbage and could do nothing about it. This is where we find the people, the Israelites in our text this morning. They were caught “In the Middle” and anxiety set in. Let’s look at our text.
The Problem: The Passing Through. (Hebrew word for pass is ‘abar’) which means to crossover, move over, go through or away from. It means to go through a particular location and/or situation in order to get to the destined point. It also means to “go as far as.” Some of us have gone as far as we can go in the location in which we are in right now. God wants us to move onto a new location in order to get us to our destiny.
Many of us only look at the symptoms and never see the destiny thus anxiety births as it did for the Israelites. Too often we only look at the symptoms and never realize that God is right “In the Middle” of whatever we are enduring as He was for the Israelites. Our text displays three symptoms that the Israelites experienced. Let’s look at those symptoms.
The Symptom: Referred to as The Signs of insurmountable obstacles (Read Isaiah 43:2-3)
The waters – (The Red Sea)
The rivers – (Jordan River)
The fire – (Fiery Furnace – 3 Hebrew Boys)
Look at verse 2a: “When we pass through the waters, I will be with you….” Now to acquire a comprehensive understanding of the Israelites’ anxiety, we must cross reference verse 2 to Exodus 14. It’s in Exodus 14 where we see the first anxiety symptom exposed, ‘the waters.’ Leaving one dilemma now the Israelites face another obstacle, water. We know that water can be dangerous but water can also be refreshing. So the Living Water, allowed the Israelites to experience the miracle of to passing through the Rea Sea, the waters onto ‘dry land.’
Exodus 14:14 – “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” The Bible says, when you’ve done all that you know to do, just stand, be still and see the salvation of the Lord. In other words, we can stand right “In the Middle” of the mess and see the hand of God work the situation out for His glory and our benefit. For,
Exodus 14:19 – God will stand between my enemies and me. God doesn’t leave us to fight the battle, rather God is right there “In the Middle” holding back, fighting off the enemies’ attacks against us. Afterall, the enemy was to annihilate, destroy us. But God has our back.
Exodus 14:20 – God will keep watch over us even through the night. So instead of us experiencing restless nights, we can go to sleep and sleep peacefully because He who never slumbers or sleep is on guard and has everything under His control.
And because God is in control, any waters that we walk through are only ankle deep; ankle deep water can never consumed, never drown a child of God. We too will walk through the water on ‘dry ground’ and not sink (Exodus 14:21-22). God will assure that the water and land separates and not become muddy; thus we will not sink; we will walk through this ankle deep experience we are enduring. We can make it to the next level.