Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Lord This Day Thy Children Meet"1 (Lyrics)
Deuteronomy 28:66-67 – Your life shall hang in doubt before you. Night and day you shall be in dread and have no assurance of your life. In the morning you shall say, "If only it were evening!" and at evening you shall say, "If only it were morning!" because of the dread that your heart shall feel, and the sights that your eyes shall see. (ESV)
I have an acquaintance who wakes up each and every day of her life with the absolute conviction that life is just awful and will never get any better. While trying to find help for her to cope with this anxiety, I found that this condition actually has a name — awfulizing — defined as imagining a situation to be as bad as it can possibly be. I also learned that this morning dread is associated with an elevated level of the hormone cortisol (often called the "stress hormone").
The Bible is no stranger to those suffering anxiety and dread, as reflected in today's passage from Deuteronomy. Assuming the worst is rarely helpful. People who study this refer to three contributing elements:
- Insecurity — something bad is going to happen
- Helplessness — there is nothing that I can do
- Isolation — there is no one to help me
Those of us who follow the way of Jesus should help people who find the days and nights filled with dread and anxiety and despair. We can challenge such persons to focus on what they can control. We can invite them to keep a journal and write down what they might be grateful for. We can encourage them to list at least three things that they are looking forward to. We can remind them of the Scripture which says, "I want you to be free from anxieties." (1 Corinthians 7:32a ESV)
Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (ESV)
Prayer: God, help us to cast all our anxieties on You. We know that You care for us, but sometimes, we forget. Thank You that You have told us, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." (John 14:27 ESV) Amen.