Cast Your Anxieties Upon Jehovah
WOULD a man who had committed adultery and murder suffer anxiety? Surely he would, if he had any sort of conscience at all. King David did have a conscience. Yet, in the grip of intense passion, this ancient Hebrew king committed adultery with a woman named Bath-sheba. The situation was complicated when she became pregnant, and eventually he felt himself compelled to arrange the death of her husband and to marry her himself.
When he came to his senses, can you imagine the anguish, the torment of conscience that he must have suffered? Well, we do not have to imagine it, because David describes it to us himself. It was this tragic series of events that led him to write the Ps 51 fifty-first psalm.
How did David handle all that anguish? The psalm tells us that he frankly confessed to his God, Jehovah, what he had done and showed deep, heartfelt repentance. Then he begged for God’s help to develop a different spirit. He said: “Create in me even a pure heart, O God, and put within me a new spirit, a steadfast one.” (Psalm 51:10) In this way, he ‘threw all his anxiety upon Jehovah.’—1 Peter 5:7.
Would God help someone who had committed such crimes? David was confident that he would. He said: “The sacrifices to God are a broken spirit; a heart broken and crushed, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17) History shows that for the rest of his life David suffered from the consequences of what he did. But because of his heartfelt repentance, his Creator did not abandon him. He was given help to bear his anxieties.
We may not have committed murder. Yet not one of us is without anxieties of some kind. We all sin, and a bad conscience is a heavy burden. Additionally, nearly everybody has worries about health, the rising cost of living, perhaps the bringing up of children, work, difficulties in getting on with others, crime, debt, and similar things. Do you try to carry all those worries yourself? Really, you do not have to. You will be happier if you follow this Scriptural advice: “Throw your burden upon Jehovah himself, and he himself will sustain you. Never will he allow the righteous one to totter.”—Psalm 55:22.
How to Ask for Jehovah’s Help
How can we cast our burden on Jehovah? Of course, we have to pray to him and discuss our anxieties with him. The book of Proverbs gives us good advice on this. It tells us: “Trust in Jehovah with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5) Hence, if we want Jehovah’s help, we need to rely on his wisdom, not our own. Sometimes we have to learn this lesson.
For example, in one country, Christians were faced with bitter persecution. According to the report, at first they prayed to God for help, but without understanding. They did not understand why they had to undergo such experiences and tried to tell Jehovah what they wanted him to do for them.
However, they became stronger and learned to view it as a privilege to suffer for righteousness’ sake. Thus, they were more like the apostles of old who, after being beaten by the Jewish leaders, “went their way from before the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy to be dishonored in behalf of his name.” (Acts 5:41) Now these modern Christians patiently submit with God’s help to whatever persecution Satan inflicts upon them. They trust in Jehovah to work things out in his way and wait patiently on his due time to deliver them. They confidently cast all their anxieties upon him.—Proverbs 14:26.
Additionally, casting our anxieties on Jehovah requires faith that Jehovah can and will help us. One woman learned this lesson well. She suffered from anxieties because, although she wished to serve Jehovah, she was addicted to smoking tobacco. She prayed for help but kept right on smoking. Some time later she was able to announce happily: “I have finally stopped smoking!” Why could she not stop before? She admitted: “I prayed to God for help, but I did not really believe that he could help me.” It was only when she asked in faith that she received the help she needed.—Hebrews 11:6.
Then, if we wish Jehovah to help us bear our anxieties, there are things we have to do. Jesus indicated this, saying: “Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for your souls.”—Matthew 11:28, 29.
There is a saying, ‘God helps those who help themselves.’ The above words of Jesus show that, in reality, ‘God helps those who are willing to help others.’ Jesus offered refreshment—relief from anxieties—to those who were willing to ‘take his yoke,’ that is, submit to Christ’s direction and serve God and their neighbors just as Jesus did.—Matthew 9:35-38; James 1:27; 1 John 3:17.
How Does Jehovah Help?
So then, if we are suffering from great anxiety and pray to God in full faith, and we show that that faith is genuine by trying to do his will, serving him and helping our neighbors, what kind of help can we expect?
It may be that God will completely remove the problem giving rise to our anxiety. That has happened from time to time. Or it may be that he will give us the necessary wisdom to solve the problem ourselves or to see the correct way of handling it. Then we will experience the truth of the Biblical proverb: “He that is trusting in his own heart is stupid, but he that is walking in wisdom is the one that will escape.”—Proverbs 28:26.
How can we gain such godly wisdom? Attending meetings of Jehovah’s people and reading the Bible and Bible publications are two ways that come to mind. As one Christian mother who suffered a lot of anxiety because of having an alcoholic husband expressed it, “Reading The Watchtower and studying it and applying it have helped me the most of all.”—Hebrews 10:24, 25; Psalm 119:97-104.
Or, Jehovah can help us by means of our Christian brothers. One elder received from two persons in his congregation a warm note that read in part: “Thank you for the many times you listened to and helped us with our personal problems, encouraged us when we were depressed, visited us when we were sick, came whenever we called and stayed up all night in hospitals when our families needed you. We are grateful to Jehovah to have a brother who cares for us as deeply as you do.”
Hence, if you have anxieties, why not share them with mature ones in your congregation? Jehovah might help you by means of them, and you will see the truth of the ancient proverb: “A true companion is loving all the time, and is a brother that is born for when there is distress.”—Proverbs 17:17.
Of course, Jehovah will not always remove the problems that cause our anxiety. But by strengthening us by means of the Bible, the holy spirit or our Christian brothers, he helps us to view the problems correctly and handle them wisely. In this way, we can experience what the apostle Paul said: “For all things I have the strength by virtue of him who imparts power to me.” (Philippians 4:13) Thus even though the problems are still there, Jehovah God keeps his promise: “I will by no means leave you nor by any means forsake you.”—Hebrews 13:5.
Alma found this to be true. She is a Christian woman who some years ago was in an automobile accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down. She has much pain, but the knowledge that God will soon remove sickness and suffering is a comfort and help to her. Meantime, she says: “I pray to Jehovah to help me to endure each day. Then, when that day is over, I’m one day closer!”
Alma never misses a meeting of the Christian congregation, and she uses every avenue open to her to share with others the confidence she has in the future. In this way she feels the support of Jehovah as she throws her burdens upon him.
Whatever help Jehovah gives, we can be sure it is what is needed, and it is sufficient. The apostle Paul confidently declared: “We know that God makes all his works cooperate together for the good of those who love God.” (Romans 8:28) Even under great suffering, it is possible to experience Jehovah God’s help. Paul told us: “Do not be anxious over anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving let your petitions be made known to God; and the peace of God that excels all thought will guard your hearts and your mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.”—Philippians 4:6, 7.
Hence, whatever our anxieties or burdens, let us confidently follow the advice of the apostle Peter: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time; while you throw all your anxiety upon him, because he cares for you.”—1 Peter 5:6, 7.
[Box on page 24]
Jehovah has promised to help us bear our burdens. Do you have some of the following problems:
□ Guilty conscience?
□ Feeling of unworthiness?
□ Lack of self-control?
□ Persecution or oppression?
□ Prejudice because of race, social class or sex?
□ Weighed down by day-to-day problems?
□ Worry about the future?
□ Difficult personalities to handle?
If so, why try to handle them alone? Such anxieties are much easier to bear if we accept Jehovah’s help.