The apostle Paul certainly had plenty of reasons to feel anxious. Sitting in a Roman prison, he didn’t know if he would be released or put to death. Writing to the believers in Philippi, however, he urged them, “Do not be anxious about anything” (Philippians 4:6).
Anxiety and its companion, worry, do their best to immobilize believers. People are anxious about the future; they are anxious about events that haven’t happened but could happen. Anxiety causes physical problems. Anxiety makes people fearful and distressed.
So, what can believers do about their anxiety? Paul gave the answer: “In every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” When we give our anxiety to God, he replaces it with his peace “which transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). God’s peace is beyond comprehension because it makes no sense — the circumstances seem to require anxiety, but instead we feel God’s peace. When we feel anxiety rising, we should turn to God in prayer. He will give us the peace he promised.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
— Psalm 121
God is Bigger
Depression. Fear. Loss. Injustice. Violence. Addiction. Bullying. Insecurity. Joblessness. Anxiety.
Cultural tragedies and personal challenges are vast and can quickly trigger feelings of anxiety and hopelessness. While the sources of stress and worry may change over time, the need for hope and peace does not. As Jesus told his disciples in John 16:33, “In me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
God is bigger than anything that comes our way, and he promises to be with us through the peace he gives. In John 14:27, Jesus tells his disciples he will send the Holy Spirit when he returns to the Father, and he encourages us today with this: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” These words still encourage us today.
This call to not be troubled or afraid is timely and timeless — in this life we will always need relief from our anxiety and fear. As you read the Bible, consider highlighting verses on hope and peace to begin building a lifelong reference for help in anxious times built on the bedrock of God’s Word.
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 4:7
This article is drawn from introductory content in the NIV Find Peace New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs, a Bible printed with highlighted verses of hope and peace found throughout the NIV text.