Fear, Anxiety and Depression Don’t have to rule your life!
God often communicated with us through parables and metaphors. He must have known for some reason we tend to relate better to such communication. It allows us to compare and contrast, somehow touch the words and become part of them instead of merely reading and digesting them.
This is true in the words God chose to describe himself. A few such examples include water of life (John 4:14), bread of life (John 6:35), light of the world (John 8:12) and in nearly 50 instances he was illustrated as a refuge and nearly 70 as a rock.
What was God trying to convey to us by using the examples of a rock and a refuge? What was God trying to explain to the Israelites and to those who walked with Jesus? What was God telling David?
“Jehovah, is my Rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; My God, my rock in whom I will take refuge; my shield, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower,” Psalm 18:2.
What is he telling us today?
In 2014, are people looking for a rock or a refuge? Whether people are actively seeking a refuge could be debated but it’s safe to say we need one. Numbers and statistics prove we live in a broken world full of physical, mental and plain sadistic pain and despair. In the United States our bodies are often riddled with disease. Diseases often attributed to stress, anxiety and heartache.
In 2010 the Center for Disease control reported the following diseases result in the most deaths per year in the U.S.
- Heart Disease: 596,577
- Cancer: 576,691
- Alzheimer’s: 84,974
- Diabetes: 73,8311
We need both a refuge and rock to avoid these diseases and to deal with them. The Center for Disease control further documents that another 126,438 deaths are caused by accidents and 39,518 by suicide (2).
Often we allow our minds and hearts to travel down roads of despair, doubt, tragedy and utter ravage which could easily be mitigated by or completely avoided by leaning on the Rock. The Anxiety & Depression Association of America reported that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults age 18 and older (3).
While our mental and physical health are sending out warning signals to us we often make them even worse by depending too much on ourselves to make decisions. These decisions are often wrong, misguided and lead to even more stress and despair.
In the US the basic architecture of the family has decayed leading many to seek a refuge from other sources. According to National KIDS COUNT, a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the premier source for data on child and family wellbeing, in 2012 there were 24,725,000 children living in single-parent homes (4).
The families face countless trials and increased stress and demands including being away from the in “The U.S. is the Most Overworked Developed Nation in the World – When do we Draw the Line,” Americans work more hours during the year than any other country racking up one hundred thirty seven more hours than Japanese workers, 260 more hours than British workers and 499 more hours than French workers.
In addition to daily stresses and dealing with what we might consider day-to-day trials and “normal” life, evil exists in our world. The only way to deal with such evil is to rely on God as our one and only refuge. For example, according to RAINN (Rape Abuse & Incest National Network) there is an average of 237,868 victims of rape and sexual assault each year (6).
Simply stated, Americans are overworked, spiritually unnourished, walking health grenades, victims of evil and operating in stress induced comas! But, is it our own fault?
We’ve bought into the lie that we are in controlof our destinies. We do not lean on God, our rock. We do not allow him to provide shelter for us and depend on him to lead our way. Instead we believe big is better, we must do it all on our own and that earthly desires lead to our happiness.
Do you believe God intended your life to be this way?
If you truly use God as your refuge and your strength then you have help in times of trouble and there is no reason to fear anything. Fear of physical disease, mental illness, earthly evil and daily stresses will diminish.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear…” Psalm 46:1-2 KJV.
What would life look like if you trusted God as your refuge and leaned on him as a solid rock? Would life be without fear? Would you make decisions knowing that God’s fortress is thick, surrounding you and protecting you? Would you take chances and lean on your faith more knowing that God, just as an umbrella protects you from the rain, gives you shelter from harm?
How do you get to the place where you fully trust God and lean on him? It’s not as if God will appear to you as a rock such as he did with Moses. How do you fully seek his refuge? David is a good example. You can easily relate to the numerous trials he faced throughout his life.
He faced giant obstacles. His friends became his enemies. He suffered from depression. He faced impending battles. He fled and feared for his life.
Just to name a few!
No matter the trial David found refuge in God,
“My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge” Psalm 62:7–8.
David’s life was full of mistakes, U-turns and bad decisions. It was full of heartache, physical pain, mental illness and the effects of an evil world. David’s trials are not far from our own. David found shade and comfort in the rock of God. He found relief and strength in his refuge.
He is a mighty example of the power of trust in the Lord,
“I will love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold,” Psalm 18:1-2.
So when faced with physical trials, emotional hardship, or worldly suffering take David’s life to heart. Find comfort in the Lord. Be thankful God wants to be your refuge. Until you are in heaven where there are no tears or pain, give God your agony, worries and sorrow. Just as a rock provides strength, shelter and shade depend on God for your power, your sustenance and your needs.
In Hebrews 13:5, God promises he will never leave nor forsake you. You can face each trial knowing he is in control and he will fulfill his promises. This covenant should cause you to run to the comfort only his refuge can give, give him your burdens and live your life by faith.
1. Center for Disease. (April 5, 2013). Deaths and Mortality. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm
2. Center for Disease. (April 5, 2013). Deaths and Mortality. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm
3. The Anxiety & Depression Association o fAmerica Facts & Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/factsstatistics
4. National KIDS COUNT (2014). 2014 Data Book State Trends in Child Well Being. Retrieved from http://www.aecf.org/m/resourcedoc/aecf2014kidscountdatabook-2014.pdf?utm_source=FES+KIDS+COUNT+Press+Release&utm_campaign=KIDS+COUNT+Press+Release&utm_medium=email
5. Miller, G. E. (September 9, 2014).The U.S. is the Most Overworked Developed Nation in the World – When do we Draw the Line. Retrieved from http://20somethingfinance.com/americanhours-worked-productivity-vacation/
6. RAINN (Rape Abuse & Incest National Network). (2008-2012). Retrieved from https://www.rainn.org/get-information/