“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” -Psalm 55:22
Did you know that in the United States, approximately 40 million people suffer from anxiety? That’s a little more than the population of California (39.56 million). Obviously, this mental illness is an epidemic in our society. But why is this the case? What exactly is causing all of our anxiety?
I have a few opinions. First, we live in a fast-paced world that demands our time, attention, and effort in every facet of life. For example, we are pushed to perform well from the very beginning of the educational system. If we don’t get good grades, educators reject us as people. Our identity no longer becomes who we are, but how well we can perform. If grades are not up to par, we are considered a “risk” for being college-bound successful. Every test we take seems to dictate our future. Obviously, this produces anxiety within our souls.
Then, when we enter the workforce, charts and graphs are shoved in our face. Most of the time, our performances aren’t good enough. The administrators always push us to do better and excel each year. Eventually, most people cave to this pressure and try to numb their worries with alcohol and drugs. This breeds even more anxiety. Maybe this is why drugs and depression are correlated? What a vicious cycle.
Finally, when entering old age, the elderly are concerned about whether social security will pay enough stipend to survive retirement. Anxiety can set in when there is fear that medical bills won’t be paid or a loan will have to be taken out, even if it won’t be paid back in this lifetime. Then the worry becomes, “Will my children have to financially suffer from the decisions I have made?”
If education and work are not enough, say hello to social media and advertisement. Ads showing successful people making more money than you. Families that are smiling around their Christmas tree. And you are sitting in your pajamas by yourself in a low-rated apartment asking yourself: “Am I valuable? Do I matter? Why has success not met with me on this journey called life?
The world will always demand more than we can give. Society doesn’t have an accurate picture of what success entails. It’s not about getting a Ph.D., making a bunch of money, or having a perfect family that breeds success. You could be the smartest person in the world and still be a jerk. You could have the most money in the world but be an immoral train wreck.
Here is the truth. What matters is not what you have done, but who you are. It’s all about your character. This is what God desires of us. He wants us to produce the fruit of the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). Can you imagine how lovely the world would be if people took the time and effort to cultivate these attributes?
The Bible also makes it clear that when we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). In other words, when we live a godly lifestyle, He hears our prayers. So when you are anxious or worried, guess what? He hears your troubled heart. Like a compassionate Father, He will never let the righteous one be shaken. Cast your cares upon Him, as the Psalmist states, and He will sustain you.
Isn’t this a lovely truth? I can remember before I became a believer in Jesus, I lived a hedonic lifestyle. I tried to fill my void up with pleasure, drugs, and attention from others. There was a constant pressure for me to succeed in the world’s eyes by being the best athlete on my swim team, getting perfect grades, and trying to impress my college buddies. But in the end, I wasn’t able to sustain it. It’s too difficult to accomplish. There is always someone who isn’t satisfied with the work that you do.
And so this is why it’s pivotal for you to meditate on this psalm. It’s vital to grasp this idea that the Lord cares for you. It’s the Creator of the Universe who wants your heart. Let’s be honest. Why would we want to give our hearts to anyone else when God Almighty wants us? Anything less than Him would be considered idolatry. This is why Jesus said the two greatest commandments in the world are: “To Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 22:37).
Let’s pray and ask the Lord to heal our anxieties and cast our worries into the depths of the sea. “Our Father who art in Heaven, you are Holy and Great. Thanks for listening to our anxious hearts. Right now, we ask you to calm our spirits. Give us a spirit not of timidness but of sound mind and strength. Remind us once again that you have promised never to leave us or forsake us. You will not abandon us as orphans but sustain us in the midst of our despair. Holy Father, thanks for sending your Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. Thank you for washing away all our sins. There is no longer anything to worry about since our sins have been forgiven. Every mistake and wrongful action has been erased and paid in full by the precious blood of Christ. Thank you, King of the Universe. It’s in Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.