Do you ever find yourself desperately praying for anxiety to just go away?
“I think I’m going to die.” That’s what I thought to myself during many sleepless nights last year. I’d try to fall asleep, only to wake up in terror for no reason. My chest was tight, and I felt like I was choking. Sometimes I couldn’t breathe. The cycle would repeat, and eventually, I began sleeping on the couch so I’d stop waking up my wife.
One day, I went to a doctor and explained my chest pain, the trouble falling asleep, and the panic attacks. After a couple of tests over a few visits, he diagnosed me with anxiety. Can I be honest? It made me feel like a failure as a Christian. Hadn’t I been praying against this the right way? I’m not supposed to deal with this, I would think to myself. I’m supposed to have peace and not worry—that’s what Jesus said to do! So after meeting with my doctor, I began taking medication and continued praying for anxiety to go away. Still, I wasn’t sure what to do next.
Do you feel the same way? Like you’ve tried everything to find peace from anxiety but aren’t sure what to do next? Fortunately, I discovered a Bible verse that changed my perspective on anxiety, and I’m confident it can do the same for you.
What Does the Bible Say About Anxiety?
In 2 Corinthians 12, in the NIV translation, Paul describes his “thorn in the flesh.” It’s his way of talking about something holding him back from living like Jesus. Whatever the “thorn” is, he’s prayed for it to go away, but it never did. While we never know for sure what Paul’s “thorn” was, anxiety can certainly feel like one for many people, including me. Paul said that he pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away, but instead, Jesus told him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (emphasis added)
The grace of Jesus is sufficient, no matter the circumstances. As I prayed for healing, I drew closer to Jesus. Like Paul, God hasn’t taken away my “thorn.” However, I’ve found myself more passionate about reading His Word, and I spend more time in prayer with God.
A New Way of Praying For Anxiety
I thought I needed healing for my anxiety. But, in reality, I needed more of Jesus. So I’ll keep praying for healing. But even if I never fully recover, I still have peace in the love of God.
I do pray to be delivered from this thorn just like Paul did. But something even better is happening to me than being instantly healed from anxiety: I’m developing a deeper understanding of God and a richer relationship with Him. Now I know that Jesus isn’t watching from a distance but suffers beside me. So instead of just praying for peace, I found myself drawing closer to the source of peace. When I began to worry about my future, I reminded myself that He would be with me no matter what.
I was praying for anxiety to go away, but I found something much better: the overwhelming, loving presence of Jesus in my life—even in the midst of anxiety.
For more anxiety help, start this Bible Plan: