Faith in Culture

Verses for Times of Anxiety

5 Minute Read - By Rachel Wong

As someone who has generalized anxiety, I’ve felt the isolation that comes with feeling anxious. Whether it’s waiting to hear the results from a medical test, or career plans not panning out, or feeling overwhelmed by the number of assignments I had to finish by midnight, I remember feeling overwhelmed and unsure where to turn.

It can be easy to find peace during the moments when things are going as planned. But when things aren’t going as smoothly, it can feel like we’re lost and stuck, especially when we’re unsure whether circumstances will start to look up.

It took me a while to understand that even in my anxiety, God wants to speak to me and can reassure me. He does so in a particular way in the Scriptures—words that are living and active and God uses to speak into our present moment. 

So when you feel like things are falling apart and you aren’t sure where to turn, take to heart these words of God as if He is saying them directly to you:

“You who fear the Lord, trust in him, and your reward will not fail.” – Sirach 2:8

Admittedly it can be difficult to trust in something or someone when we don’t know what the benefits will be from doing so. God knows that we may find it hard, but assures that when we do, the reward will be great. After all, God’s track record is pretty good—in Sirach 2:10, we are reminded of generations of people who put their trust in the Lord and benefited greatly. They called upon the Lord in their suffering, and God heard their plea. Our God is timeless: He answered prayers then, and He certainly answers our prayers now.

“Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

After wandering the desert for 40 long years, Moses and the Israelites were just about to cross into the Promised Land. But imagine Joshua’s surprise when God all of a sudden hands the responsibility from Moses over to him! He must have felt the pressure and weight of it fall on his shoulders—an entire nation that had years of anticipation built up to this moment.

God assured Joshua that He would always be present with him on the journey. In the same way, the Lord reminds us to be strong and not to be frightened, because He is always walking along with us.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.” – Matthew 6:34

It’s not always easy to just “decide not to be anxious”, but Jesus gives us a truth that can help us grasp it. He gives us a perspective of His love by sharing how all His creation—birds, flowers, and grass–are always taken care of with food and shelter and they never have to worry. He assures that we as humans, made in the image of God, are of infinitely more value and will be cared for all the more. 

In other words, God has our back. 

When we seek to follow the will of God and do our best in that regard, He will comfort us. We don’t need to worry about what tomorrow will bring, because we can rest secure in our one and only task: to do the will of God and allow Him to lead.

And if you need more convincing, this verse actually comes from an entire passage in Matthew’s Gospel where Jesus encourages us to put aside our anxiety because God will support us in everything (Matthew 6:25-34). 

“Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

St. Paul is writing to Christians here that they need not be anxious but should share their worries with God in prayer. In return, St. Paul says that God will give the ultimate gift: His peace. But this is not an ordinary peace—it’s more than just those glimmers of contentment when you’re watching the sunset. It’s a kind that holds firm through all the ups and downs in life. 

This peace will not only ease our anxiety but help us stay close to Jesus. He desires to be close to us and He desires to keep us calm in the midst of the storms we encounter. The more we open up to God, the closer He draws us to Himself.

“Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7

He knows we aren’t perfect (and doesn’t expect perfect) and that we struggle with trusting in His goodness. But in our doubt, He wants to comfort us. He wants us to trust Him with every last anxiety we have because He loves each of us. In this letter, Peter goes on to say that in due time, the Lord will restore us.

“With the Lord on my side I do not fear, what can man do to me?” – Psalm 118:6

Psalm 118 is a beautiful song of God’s victory and power over sin and death, and in many ways is a love letter to all of us! It is a reminder that He will always save us and protect us. He is our protector and guide. 

If you ever feel alone or anxious, take a moment to allow God to speak to you. He knows our hearts and struggles and will comfort us in our time of need.

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