Glorifying God in the Midst of Anxiety
In seasons of happiness, obedience can come more naturally. We are energized by joy and desire to serve God.
But seasons of difficulty are much different. In seasons of suffering, sadness, anxiety, and weakness, obedience does not come so naturally. When I am filled with anxiety, all I want to do is lie in bed and dwell on my worries, flip through the what ifs, and argue against rational thinking. I want to scroll through Facebook posts and get lost in Instagram stories, forgetting my difficulty.
And yet, my God-given purpose to glorify him has not changed in those seasons of rampant anxiety. Even in those moments, God is calling me to be a mirror that is reflecting him and his gospel.
The Example of Joseph
When I think of someone who sought to glorify God at all times, I think of Joseph.
He was sold into slavery, yet he honored God by being hard-working and trustworthy to his owner. He was thrown in jail under a false pretense, yet he glorified God by serving in the prison and interpreting dreams when God gave him the wisdom to do so. He was taken from the jail and put in service to Pharaoh, saving many from dying of hunger in the famine.
No matter how trying the season, Joseph kept his eyes heavenward. He may have felt the crushing weight of fear in each of these moments, but he knew the faithfulness of his God and trusted him with the season, seeking to glorify Him in the midst of it.
Joseph followed this pattern of trusting God’s faithfulness to his deathbed. As he lay dying, he said to the sons of Israel, “I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob … God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here” (Genesis 50:24-25 ESV).
Joseph let the faithfulness of God spur him on to be faithful. He trusted in God’s goodness and his promises, and that was the fuel that kept him going in the midst of his pain. The trying seasons were not a time of stagnation, but a time to glorify.
The faithfulness God showed to Joseph is the same faithfulness God will show to you as you strive to obey and glorify Him even in this season of anxiety. When worries and fears abound, be reminded that God will never stop being faithful to you. He will still care for you, love you, and strengthen you each step of the way.
Three Ways to Glorify God in Anxiety
Let us do the same as Joseph, letting the faithfulness of God send us forward in obedience, in both the joyful times and fiery suffering.
We can glorify God when we choose to fall to our knees in prayer rather than falling onto the couch in fear. And God promises that when we do so, we will find peace.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7)
We can glorify God by opening up our hearts about our struggle to those who are struggling as well. Paul wrote to the Corinthians concerning his suffering,
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. ( 2 Corinthians 1:3-7)
Our temptation may be to hide our battle against anxiety from others out of fear of their judgment. But when we share with others what God is doing through it, we can actually bring encouragement to them. And this brings glory to God.
In Relying On Others
We can glorify God by recognizing our need for others. When we stop trying to handle it all on our own and break down to someone else, “I’m struggling today, please help me,” God is still glorified in that. It may feel like weakness and failure, but this is what God has created the church for: to serve and uplift one another—all to His glory.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Instead of hiding our battle with fake smiles, let’s strive to be more open with one another to find encouragement, so that God can be glorified even then.
When worry begins to tighten its grip on you, don’t give in to the desire to remain in it. Pray to God and ask him to give you the strength to overcome it. Pray to him for help, and give your many anxieties to him, because he cares for you. Don’t remain in the place of anxiety, but use this season to glorify God even still. Let this be a time of growing in love with your Saviour and love for others.