Helping The Anxious

Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down,but a good word makes him glad. (Proverbs 12:25 ESV)

I see a lot of anxiety in the church. People suffer under the weight of things real and imagined; of their past or their future. I've had to deal with anxiety in my own life, and I know how draining and frail it can leave a person. The anxious need help from outside of themselves. They need help from God, but such help will often come from brothers and sisters in Christ. Proverbs 12:25 gives us some guidance here.

The anxious need help.

If you find yourself tied up in fear and worry, then seek help from others. If man needed others before the poison of sin entered the world and the human soul, how much more do we need it now? You may not need the help, but others around you certainly do. And if you see them, then God has put them there to receive help from you.

The anxious need truth.

Help for the anxious often comes in the form of "a good word." A good word is not a worldly cheer, nor self-help. It isn't made up of mere silver-lining, positive thinking, "turn that frown upside down" flimflam. The good word is truth. A word from God, revealed in Scripture, shared and applied by others. From the preaching of the word to a well timed verse emailed to a friend, a good word can be used by God to aid the afflicted. Of course we need to listen as well. We need to listen first. This is what will help us speak a good word. And sure, some dispense truth haphazardly without much grace. But to only listen and not speak in due time is to offer no help at all.

The anxious need joy.

The anxious have lost the joy of the Lord. They know the truth, but are not resting in it in such a way that they find relief and comfort. The good word offered is what God uses to give joy to his people. It will make them "glad" because the good word uncovers God's goodness, mercy, love, sovereign care, immeasurable power, or perfect plan in a way that intersects with their lives. And such truths are the means by which God sanctifies us, and returns to us the joy of our salvation.

Anxiety is more complicated than what I am sharing here, but I want to encourage people to speak good words. I have been greatly helped by those who, when I was fearful, read a Psalm, quoted a verse, or simply pointed me to my God and Savior. For some good reading on the subject I would encourage you to check out Ed Welch's book, Running Scared: Fear, Worry and the God of Rest.

[photo by a loves dc via Flickr]