Peace Amidst Anxious Times

Peace Amidst Anxious Times

Do you feel it?

Election night came and went. But the election is not over. It seems that every presidential election tends to put the collective nervous system of our society on edge. But something about this season seems particularly charged.

Do you feel it?

When will we know who actually won? Once we know, will the loser accept defeat? If the president loses, will there be a peaceful transfer of power? These are the questions I hear from others and am wondering myself.

Do you feel it?

Like a virus infecting a body, this election has injected an extra dose of anxiety into an already anxious country (and world). I feel it in myself. I sense it in others. Maybe you feel too but haven’t named it yet.

The problem with anxiety is that it preoccupies our hearts and minds with an unhealthy focus on self. When we are anxious, we lack the freedom to focus on the things we ought – like being fully present, patient, and loving to those around us, for example. This is why the Christian, Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard defined anxiety as “the dizziness of freedom.”

Like an unexpected dinner guest, anxiety can just show up uninvited. Once we realize it’s here, the question to ask is: How do we respond? Do we accommodate, entertain, and feed it? Do we shame ourselves for somehow allowing this uninvited guest into our home? Or is there another way?

I find these words from the Bible (Philippians 4:6-7) so hopeful and relevant: 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Peace is possible. Not easy. Not instantaneous. But possible. How? By directing every thought, care, question, concern, burden, fear, disappoint, worry, etc. to God in prayer.

Whenever you feel anxious, talk to God about it. And see what he does. He may not fix all your problems. But we are told that peace is possible. That’s good news for us and others.

I’m convinced that one of the most compelling ways we can bear witness to Jesus right now is by being a non-anxious presence in an anxious world.

God, toward that end fill us with your Spirit.

Grace and Peace,