Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Lifestyle devotion: High Anxiety - Psalm 139:23

Psalm 139:23  Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.

            Anxiety is part of being human. We all experience anxious moments in our lives; we all go through times of intense worry and deep concern. Our anxiety may be about our health, our family, our work, or our resources. We may constantly worry about what people think or how we appear, who we are or what we do. We may even perhaps be deeply concerned about our community, our nation, and even our world. No matter who we are, we will experience anxiety at some point; no matter what we accomplish, we will have worrying times.

            Psalm 139 is one of the most intimate psalms ever written. The author expresses his intense relationship with God, which he believes began even before he was born. The intimacy of God is almost claustrophobic; there is not one area of the psalmist’s life that God doesn’t fully know or completely understand. This comforts the writer because he deeply relies upon God to help him throughout his entire life. God has always been there for the psalmist; his belief in God is personally defined by the deep abiding presence of God all through his days.

            If, as I have stated before, anxiety is a part of being human, then so is our spiritual capacity to pray to God. Over 90% of the world’s population pray to a Higher Being, so in the midst of the world’s difficulties and crises, a lot of praying must continually be going on.

            As Christians, we focus our faith on Jesus Christ and look to His Holy Spirit to lead and guide us through our anxious times and troubled moments. We rely upon God in much the same way as the ancient psalmist, but we experience our deep intimacy with God through our Savior’s grace and love. We turn to Christ to seek His wisdom and guidance. If we worry too much, then we are praying too little. If we are anxious too long, then we are making Jesus too small. The solution has always been the same: to let Christ search our hearts and bring peace to our anxious thoughts.

Questions for personal reflection

Am I presently anxious about some issue or personal crisis? Am I willing to really pray to Jesus about it?

Prayer:            Lord Jesus, You know us completely and understand our present circumstances. You see the critical times that we experience and offer us Your grace and guidance to persevere with our problems and overcome our issues. Help us to set aside some real prayer time to be intimate with You, to express our concerns, seek Your solutions, and follow Your ways. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to ask questions or make comments about today’s message, please send him an email to

Today’s image is one of John’s bulletin cover drawings. If you would like to view a larger version, please click this link: Psalm.

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