God comforts and intervenes in our lives, but He also prompts us to act on our own behalf. I am not suggesting God leaves us to take care of ourselves, but rather that sometimes the very thing He wants us to do is assume personal responsibility.
Several years ago a married couple sought me out for financial counsel. I am not a trained consultant, but it was obvious they had been living well above their means and were facing bankruptcy. The couple feared for their financial future, but also for their children who looked to them as their source of security. Our church family did what they could to help, and with a little assistance and some diligent crisis management the disaster was averted. Over time this couple drifted away from church in favor of weekend recreation, and before long they were once again living above their means. Is another crisis in their future? I sincerely hope not. But they are certainly headed in that direction.
Many of our anxieties are self-imposed because we don’t pay attention to God’s expressed will as revealed in His written Word. Not only this, but sometimes we use twisted theology and “God-talk” to convince ourselves we are doing exactly what God wants. Our anxiety is compounded when we start to suffer the consequences of our actions because we presume God has let us down. But we must be honest. Did God let us down because we bought something we couldn’t afford? Did he let us down because an improper relationship caused our life to blow up? It is God’s fault we took advantage of our employer and lost our job?
Please don’t get me wrong. God is in the business of pulling people out of the fire, and He doesn’t refuse our cries for mercy. In fact, the big story of the Bible is one of redemption. I am merely pointing out, as we consider how God helps us in our anxieties, that sometimes He teaches us to avoid anxiety altogether by obeying His commands. In his second letter to Timothy Paul wrote “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity,but a spirit of power,of love and of self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7) God empowers us when we are in crisis, loves us when we are hurt, but also reminds us to act responsibility with the gifts and opportunities He has given us so He can bless us and we can be a blessing to others.