Matthew 6:25,27,30 Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life… And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?… O you of little faith?
I have a plethora of defects but anxiety, admittedly, is not one of my main struggles. So, I will write just of what I know of it and you will hopefully forgive me if I misspeak about your struggle.
Anxiety manifests itself in different ways. For some, it it an uncontrollable obsession with a specific focus like money or security. For others, it is an overwhelming sense of dread with no obvious cause. Like many of our defects, there may be no rational explanation.
It may be something we are born with or it may be a result of traumatic experiences. Whatever the focus or cause, anxiety is a destructive defect, similar to many other defects, that we do not wish to indulge in, but despite its misery, we cannot stop. In this regard, it meets the definition of an addictive behavior, similar to other defects of our flesh.
You may find it offensive that I refer to it in the same breath as addiction, anger, greed or pride, but at its core, it is an uncontrolled, pervasive response to the world that is unhelpful and destructive. Anxiety is a soul-crushing misery that God does not wish us to suffer from. Jesus says, Do not be anxious. Look to me and give me your anxiety.
Why then does He not just deliver us from anxiety when we ask him to? Why does He not just fix us? I am sure that if you suffer from anxiety, you have read verses like this one today and prayed that God would take your anxiety from you. I am also sure that some of you have felt that God abandoned you as He did not deliver you from your anxiety.
My understanding of anxiety as a defect of our flesh nature is that those who suffer from it will find that it is one of their thorns in the flesh. Thus, while the sufferer does not have to live enslaved to it, he or she will likely always feel the influence of it. Paul asked God to deliver him from one such thorn in his flesh, to which God said no. God told Paul, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. God allows us, with some defects, to remain in need of him.
It is often only in our need that we turn to God. So whether we suffer from situational anxiety or chronic, paralyzing anxiety, we are to use that discomfort to turn us to God. It may be that we have to do it everyday for the rest of our lives. That is no different from the rest of our defects, which we have to take to God a hundred times daily.
Again, this does not mean that we have to live enslaved to paralyzing fear. In looking to God daily, we can be delivered daily and we can know peace. That may be the point of our defects, that we through them, we learn to rely on God constantly.