Anxiety is a common malady that affects many in our modern world, and Christians are not excluded. Some may assume that anxiety is a “sign” from God that there is something wrong, plans needs to be changed, or we need to stop activities that cause anxiety. Possibly for others anxiety is sinful, and causes guilt, because the Bible clearly states, “Be anxious for nothing.”
In our American world control is paramount. We have a security-driven mind set. The unknown creates a high level of anxiety. Our cure for anxiety often pushes us to focus on every detail, minimize the unknown, eliminate risk, prevent every unforeseen possibility, or stop all anxiety producing activities. On this mission trip, God had a different and better plan to deal with anxiety.
The recent Yorktown Baptist Dental and Medical trip was fertile ground for anxiety on several levels. The first morning they were challenged by the story of the eagle chicks, and mother eagle who pushed them out of the nest. While they flapped their wings frantically in terror, she swooped under them and lifted them back to the safety of the nest. After a few repetitions, the eagles gained strength and flew confidently on their own. They were assured that the same God who designed the eagles would also accompany their endeavors, and would never let them fall beyond His ability to sustain them.
One participant shared, “I was anxious about my husband’s health, so I signed up to support him.” An experienced nurse was anxious about the preparation and organization of a new-to-her ministry. Several had fears about the language barrier. Debbie Craver, who led the group, experienced anxiety at multiple junctures—would the team be cohesive? Would there be enough medicines? Would 30 pieces of checked luggage, which were filled with supplies, arrive on time? Dr. Francisco also battled anxiety as he spent hours answering questions, and emails of concern. He spent more hours organizing translators, purchasing supplies, making preparations for multiple sites, and planning for concurrent medical, opthomology, and dental clinics.
The results? Debbie said, “I learned that I only needed to do my part, and God took care of all the rest!”
God showed up for another participant with a mysterious note that said, “God will be with you and He will use you.”
For another, God confirmed His presence in spite of limited Spanish through prayer with a 13-year-old pregnant child.
Anxiety—an opportunity to overcome fear, to step out in Abraham-like faith who left his country, “not knowing whither he went,” as the Bible records. Anxiety can become an opportunity for obedience—to stretch outside of our comfort zones, to forget about ourselves as we focus on the needs of others in blessing them through actions of compassion. Anxiety requires a decision to use wisdom and to prepare diligently. It ultimately requires faith to step out into the unknown, the un-controllable.
“I learned that God expects me to do my part, and then relax, de-stress, and watch Him work,” Debbie stated.
Over 800 patients were treated in the clinics. Through diligent preparations, and faith to follow God’s leading, anxiety was overcome. “We learned that we can always depend on God—He will always show up, and He will never be late.” Is it possible that anxiety can become the doorway to a deeper relationship, a life of obedience and the kind of faith that overcomes fears?