For a few days I’ve been crabby. Is it the Easter hangover? There seems to be an invisible cloud of anxiety wherever I go.
My wife noticed the agitation in me (she always does). “Why am I crabby?” I asked. In straightforward fashion, she called it. “Jeff, everyone is feeling anxiety right now. We’re in a crisis.” “Oh, yeah.”
Disaster always creates emotional and spiritual turmoil. It’s an obvious fact, and it’s critical to name it. I’ve talked to dozens of people this week who feel the same way. We’re nearing the apex of an anxiety curve.
It makes sense that we should be at this point. We’re a month into “stay home” orders. Novelty and adrenaline have worn off. We’re experiencing more of the ramifications: job loss, financial desperation, depression, death.
A couple of weeks ago, I sensed a growing anxiety in my family as we sat down for dinner. I asked them to each share one word that described how they felt at the moment.
There was a freedom in naming what we felt. We’re not alone in the burden. But it’s not enough just to sit in a circle for sharing time. It’s only a first step. What do we do with the anxiety?
I’ve been thinking about the nature of crisis in Scripture. The setting for every episode in the Bible is crisis. A disaster. An enemy. An anxious people facing legitimate trouble.
A brutal Egyptian regime has you pinned to a body of water with nowhere to go.
You’re staring down lions and standing on the threshold of a fiery furnace.
You’ve been plagued with a disease for 12 years, and as a last resort you reach out in a crowd just to brush your fingers against the garment of a holy man named Jesus.
You trust a man who rose from the dead, while those who killed him want to kill you too.
God always flexes his muscle when his people are anxious. Praise God for the Red Sea and the furnace, the lions and the virus. Yes, it exposes our fearful hearts. But even more it reveals the heart of God. He alone is the Rescuer, Helper, and Deliverer.
I’m feeling better today, but tomorrow could be another “crabby day.” It doesn't help to "look inside myself." In my trouble, I'm continually reoriented to God. He has a track record of delivering anxious people out of desperate situations.