Day 18: Hope for the Anxious Spirit

I have learned that sometimes, as a professor, my students assume I have it mostly together. Let me shatter that illusion with my real story: I am naturally a pessimist and a worrier, and I fight against anxiety daily. I fail to trust God or remember the beauty found in hoping in him far too often. The last several years have been difficult, leading me to feel beat up by the world, let down by God’s people, attacked and tempted by Satan, and weary of an uncertain future. At every step, God has responded to those fears and to my lack of confidence in him by saying, “Pay attention. I am here. I am in charge. I will carry you.”

I respond to God by telling him all the ways my ideas are better, by how much He has let me down by not protecting me from every undesired outcome in life, and by telling Him “I told you so.” And His response? “Pay attention. I am here. I am in charge. I will carry you.”

The problem for those of us who worry is that hope is really difficult to muster in the midst of an anxious spirit. If we worry enough, we think we control the outcome somehow. That is Satan’s lie. The truth of my own story—the truth that defeats Satan’s grasp—is that at every point I have thought all was lost, God showed me a way his community would walk with me and with my family. In every moment of pain and agony, God found a way to comfort me and remind me that he is ultimately all I need.

In our living room, my husband and I have illustrated copies of several scriptures on the wall to remind us of God’s promises. Many of these are reminders to hope, despite hard times. We remind ourselves of finding hope through suffering, perseverance and character-building (Romans 5:3-5). We focus on the reminder from Isaiah that God is with us in deep waters; we will not be overwhelmed (Isaiah 43:2). And, the writer of Hebrews reminds us that faith is being confident in our hope even when we cannot see what we believe (Hebrews 11:1). God is asking us to pay attention. God is showing us he is here. God is in charge, so I need not try to be! God is carrying us.

What incredible, bold and reassuring promises these are to all of us! The grace and mercy found in the sacrifice of God’s own Son for us includes the outrageous ability to hope even on the hardest of days when the world seems overcome by darkness and fear is readily present. I am committing myself to being more hopeful this year as we focus on what that means as a community at Point and am grateful not to walk that journey on my own. May God be glorified in our efforts to bring light to the world through our hope in Him.

Written by Dr. Bethany Huxford-Davis, Instructor in Business and Organizational Leadership