Greg's Blog

Those 3:00 AM Anxiety Attacks

by Greg Laurie on Aug 17, 2019

Three o’clock a.m. . . .  it’s that time of the morning when I’m suddenly awake. Then some fear, some anxiety, or some worry grips me.

At times like this, we can start playing the “what if” game. What if this happens? What if that happens? And then we find ourselves filled with deep fear, intense worry, and crippling anxiety.

When children are afraid of the dark, they need someone to reassure them. The best thing to do is to turn on the lights so they know there’s actually not a monster under the bed. There’s no threat to them. They need the reassuring words of an adult who can help them get a proper perspective.

In the same way, when we’re frightened, when we’re scared, we need the reassuring words of our heavenly Father to help us in times of anxiety.

We all deal with fear. What amazes me is that we’ll actually pay money to be frightened by things such as scary movies or extreme rides at amusement parks. I’ve decided that I’m tired of paying money to be scared and sick to my stomach.

There’s a place, of course, for rational fear in our lives. We actually want to have that kind of fear. If you’re standing on the edge of a cliff, for example, it’s good to feel fear so you’ll move away from that edge. That fear is rational.

But then there are irrational fears that gnaw at us over time, like the fear of the unknown, the fear of losing something we have, the fear of losing control, or the fear of the future. We also worry about personal things like losing our health, losing our job and, even worse, losing a member of the family.

A lot of things in life stress us out, and I think one reason for this is that we get our information on-demand now. We go to our favorite news sites or newsfeeds and read the headlines, and we find all kinds of things to be stressed about.

I read the other day that millennials are the most stressed generation ever, even more so than the “Greatest Generation,” which is the generation that went through World War II.

The main source of this stress, I think, are these devices we have called smartphones. I was very excited when this technology came to be. I’m old enough to remember when the first cellphones hit the market. They were very large and had very short battery lives, yet I was so excited to be able to carry a phone around.

But now these phones are causing a lot of stress. Experts identify the most stressed people as “constant checkers.” These are people who are attached to their devices, flipping from one screen to another. They reach impulsively for their phone and start flipping, flipping, flipping. Constant checkers have said they feel isolated because of technology, even when they’re with their families.

Stress is a serious problem, and it’s connected to worry and anxiety. So what is the answer?

Here’s what Jesus had to say to his disciples when they were filled with fear and deep anxiety: “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am” (John 13:1–3 NLT).

The word Jesus used here for troubled is a picturesque word meaning “shudder.” Jesus was saying, “Don’t let your heart shudder.”

Notice that Jesus didn’t say we should worry and get super stressed and mull over our problems. Life is full of troubles. And no matter how much money you make, where you live, or what you do for a living, you never will be able to create a trouble-free life.

The Bible says, “People are born for trouble as readily as sparks fly up from a fire” (Job 5:7 NLT).

I hate to break it to you, but it’s always going to be something. Just when you get through that one conflict or that one difficulty or that one hardship or that one trial, another one is coming.

I don’t say this to depress you; I say it to prepare you. There are big things that seem to overtake us, and there are small, irritating things. But know this: While we have reasons to be troubled, we have a greater reason not to be.

Jesus said, “Trust in God, and trust also in me” (John 14:1 NLT). In other words, “Look, I haven’t brought you this far to abandon you now. I know what I’m doing, so I’m asking you to believe. I’m asking you to trust me.”

When I don’t understand what is happening, I fall back on what I do understand. As a Christian, I understand that God has forgiven my sin and that one day I’ll go to heaven. I understand that God loves me and is in control of my life. And I understand that “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28 NLT).

I have found that when those “what if” questions start rolling through my mind, I need to go back to what I do understand, to what I know is true.

Faith gives way to fear, and trust gives way to worry. And where faith reigns, fear has no place.

Originally published by WND as, “Are You at War with God?

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