There are times in life when you just do not feel up to the job. It could simply be a lack of confidence, or it could be the certain knowledge you really cannot do it on your own. Both of those can lead us into an anxious, fearful state of being. One common role we run into this is parenting.
If there is one role in life that commonly pushes and stresses you it is parenting, which is why so many parents experience anxiety. Just reflect for a moment on how many books and articles are out there giving all kinds of semi-helpful advice ranging from how to conceive to dealing with adult children. It also accounts for late night stressed out phone calls to Grandpa and Grandma.
The thing is whether it is parenting or any other issue all that advice is semi-helpful at best and often useless if not harmful. Those trusted people you call often are not available or cannot give the help you need. All this is why the third reason in Isaiah 41:10 to not be fearful or anxious is so wonderful.
Reason #3 - “I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,” Isaiah 41:10c
First, God provides strength: “I will strengthen you”
There are times when we simply do not feel we have the strength to go on. It could be the task seems too big for us or we could simply be worn out. When we are feeling like that it is easier for fear and anxiety to set in. That is a good time to remember what Isaiah wrote a few verses before 41:10,
He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. Isaiah 40:29-31 (Emphasis added)
Paul reminds us of this when he writes,
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
Second, God provides help
This idea is emphasized a few verses later in Isaiah 41:13-14. The emphasis means this is something God really wants us to remember.
“For I am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you. Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel; I will help you,’ declares the LORD, “and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.” (Emphasis added)
Admitting we need help is hard for many people but accepting it can be even harder. Pride and often cultural factors keep many in an adult version of the toddlers “ME do it” stage. However, as many of us know there are times when we absolutely cannot do it and need help. That can bring about anxiety and even panic. Sometimes we succumb due to those pride factors and other times simply because what needs done is so important.
In those times it is important to stop, take a calming breath, and pray. I remember the story Joe Coughlin told of the time he was in Central America and desperately needed assistance. The short version is he asked God to send some help; someone came by, and gave the needed assistance. When he asked their name it was “help” in the local language! God provides in many different ways, including sometimes simply opening our eyes to the help he provided.
Third, God provides so much more including peace
One definition of peace could be a state of being that is the opposite of anxiety. I find it encouraging that God provides this as well. Jesus said this in John14:27,
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
For years when I was especially having problems with anxiety I kept that verse in my wallet and would pull it out often. Reading and re-reading it kept me aware of the peace God was in fact providing. It also reminded that at times I had to stop, take a deep breath, quieten my spirit down and realize the peace was already there. God already provided it; I now had to accept his peace, strength, and help.
Music can often help when nothing else seems to. This song might just be what you need right now “Fear Not”
Lyrics: FEAR NOT: Phil Pringle
> Fear not, I have redeemed you, > For I am with you. I have called you by name. > Fear not, Child, you are Mine. > For I am with you. When you walk through the waters, > Fear not, I will be there > For I am with you. And through the flame. > Says the Lord. You'll not (no way) > Be drowned! > You'll not (no way) > Be burned! > For I am with you. > [P&W# 121 / @1984 Seam of Gold]
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