In the Midst of Anxiety – Look to the Rescuer

Our society is in a battleground like never before. The threat of pandemic, the fallout from lockdown, and now the cry for justice and equality within our nation. Throughout our nation and even our world, we combat the fears of running out of life necessities, falling ill, and facing injustice. Anxiety is at an all time high. Yet, for the pastor’s wife the anxieties don’t stop there. How can we help the people to whom we minister face these times? How do we maintain unity? What if we are just not enough? As my husband said last week, none of us took seminary classes on “Pastoring Through a Pandemic”. Particularly, within the small-town context the pressure to be a support and burden-bearer through all of these anxieties is multiplied when you might be the only ministry couple at your church. How do you work through the anxieties of the world and then combine that with the regular anxieties of the ministry? 

Anxiety is a part of life for all of us. At some level each person has to deal with it, some more fiercely than others. In my own life it has been a constant battle. As a child of God, a mother, a friend, and a pastor’s wife, anxieties come in waves which overwhelm me; taking my breath away and seemingly tossing me to and fro until I’m thrown to the sand exhausted and bruised. This has been an unwelcome, yet very real, physical and spiritual cycle throughout my life. It is a battleground beaten down through unwelcome repetition. 

However, it is through these stormy waves of anxiety that God’s hope shines ever brighter. As I deal with the anxieties that promise to come, I have learned, through His pursuit of me, to rely on Him as the Rescuer. He uses His Word and the Holy Spirit to toss me a life ring, tethering me to His promises and bringing peace and safety in the midst of the fear. And it is in this rescue that I find the ability to obey His words: “Be anxious for nothing.” (Philippians 4:6) My ability to obey this command ties directly to my choice to trust Him in the darkness. Although He may choose not to draw us out of those waters, He will be with us through them. He keeps His promises as we learn to hold fast to those promises as our life ring. 

Psalm 139 guides us into the surety we can have in God’s promised omnipresence through the anxieties of our lives. He begins and ends this beautiful passage by explaining to us how intimately God knows each of us. Just the knowledge that He understands us so well should provide a calm assurance. Yet, He doesn’t stop there. Verses 7 through 12 give us the “even if” verses. Let’s read those together. 

“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.”

Did you see all those IF phrases? From the darkest depth to the highest heights, there is no worry, no fear, no anxiety in which God will not be with us! He has promised His presence in the midst of the waves. We must only look to our Rescuer to weather the storm. 

What are your anxieties today, dear Friend? Is it the worldwide issues blaring at us in the news? Is it that relationship at church that just will not heal? Is it the child for whom you are always on your knees in prayer? Is it your marriage as you feel drawn apart? Is it health as it seems to slip away? Remember, even IF…God is there. Tether yourself to your omnipresent, ever-loving God as you ride those waves with hope and assurance. 

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Sarah Chadbourn

About Sarah Chadbourn

Sarah and her husband, Jonathan, are from third-generational ministry families. Their ministry experiences began in France as church planters. They then moved to a small Illinois town to help strengthen and experience the God-guided growth of a struggling church. Sarah’s husband is the Pastor of Education at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Groveland, Illinois, where she enjoys the busy life of a pastor’s wife. Sarah earned a degree in Nutritional Counseling from Calvary Bible College where she and Jonathan met. She enjoys writing, counseling, and speaking God’s truth to women of all ages. In her free time she enjoys playing piano, jogging, reading out-loud to her five children (ages 5-12), and decorating her house.