Anxiety Tsunami

Nancy Hatcher, Guest Writer, South Barrington | March 8, 2023

Search me, God, and know my heart;

    test me and know my anxious thoughts.

See if there is any offensive way in me,

    and lead me in the way everlasting. 

Psalm 139:23-24

Do you know me? Probably. I am one of the 40 million adults living in our country with anxiety. I also sit in row L on the west side of Willow’s South Barrington auditorium. I worship and serve with joy alongside you. Yet, on many a Sunday, you will see me shed tears because I am overwhelmed by the way God loves and sees my heart every single moment of every day and night. 

He sees me, gets me, and is well acquainted with the fact that my brain sometimes loves to run off on a wild and crazy panic ride. I sometimes call it my personal tsunami.

This morning during my study time, I read Joshua 1. Moses died, and now Joshua, second in command, was told by God to lead the Israelites across the Jordan river into the Promised Land. God tells Joshua four times in chapter one to be “strong and courageous.” I wonder, did God see fear in Joshua’s enormous eyes? Did he notice his hands sweating, his dry mouth, and his heart doing backflips in his chest? God also said:Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it” (Josh. 1:8). 

God gave fantastic advice when the weight of Joshua’s assignment was tearing him apart.

King David, another biblical superhero, faced a group of people that hated God and His ways. Like Joshua, he lived with fear. David loved God and knew he grieved God’s heart because of his sin. In the above Psalm, David pleads with God to search his heart and ‘anxious thoughts,’ root out his offensive behavior, and then tell him the right way to go.

Our God knows everything, is everywhere, and is all-powerful. He feels my terror when I’m in panic mode. God knows what it is all about, even when I can’t voice my fear. He clings to me as I begin to regulate my breathing. 

I have had anxiety since age eight, and now I’m almost sixty-eight. The joy of the Lord is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10). I may not see a cure for this tsunami in my lifetime, but he continues to whisper, ”Be strong and courageous, my precious girl. I’ve got this.” 

The Bible tells us that we will have trouble in this world and experience pain, loss, and heartache, but we also know that if we have accepted Jesus as our Savior, our groaning and anxiety will one day be gone forever.

Next Steps

  • If you are a worrier and prone to anxious thoughts, move toward God in prayer and study. Ask him to search your heart and for help with your anxious thoughts. 
  • Consider inviting a friend (or friends) into your journey and ask them to be in prayer with you as you trust God for His help. 
  • If you are dealing with anxiety and are looking for help, please check out our Mental Health Resources webpage.