I have published and deleted three new blog posts in the span of as many days leading up to the start of 2022 today. I’ve had a bad cold all week (not Covid) and with the cold came a lack of energy and a listless, angst-type feeling which is hard to describe. In fact, I had decided to take a break from publishing blog posts for now, and I even stated so in the last of those three blog posts that I published in the wee hours of this morning–January 1, 2022–which has now been deleted. I felt my angst was trying to take control and silence me into oblivion–well, that’s an exaggeration to say the least. I blame it all on the very bad cold that managed to find me leading up to Christmas Day and two days after when it showed up in full force.
A generalized angst is something most of us have been feeling since the onset almost two years ago of the Covid-19 pandemic. It has certainly changed our entire world, and the effects are still very much ongoing. And while I’m not trying to take away from the seriousness of the situation, the entire subject is just getting to be old beyond words as we wait for yet another variant to show up. Of course, long before Covid-19 showed up, viruses have had variants (take the flu, for example), but the media and hype surrounding Covid-19 have made a very big deal out of variants coming from Covid-19 which keeps the general population in a perpetual state of angst.
Angst is defined as “a feeling of deep anxiety or dread, typically an unfocused one about the human condition or the state of the world in general” (quote source here). From a biblical perspective, GotQuestions.org defines “angst” as follows:
Angst is a deep feeling of anxiety, dread, insecurity, or apprehension. “Angst” comes from an Indo-European root word that means “anguish, anxiety, or anger.” Sigmund Freud first introduced the word “angst” to the English language as a term referring to generalized anxiety. Angst differs slightly from true anxiety in that, while anxiety is active, angst is passive. Anxiety is fear about a certain event, but angst is a sense of underlying dissatisfaction without specific cause. People who are filled with angst are morose, dissatisfied, and unhappy for no particular reason.
Some seasons of life produce apprehension that, if not dealt with properly, can create angst. Geographical moves, an upcoming job change, or the teenage years are often seasons in which we can develop angst. The decisions of national leaders can stir unrest in the citizenry during war times or economic crises. Rather than allow those events to create angst, the Bible invites us to cast all our care upon the Lord, because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). We are not scolded for our fear but urged to choose a better option than angst. Philippians 4:6–7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
The book of Psalms gives us many examples of situations that could produce angst, but the psalmists continued writing until they found a solution. Psalm 42, for example, expresses the fear, apprehension, and anxiety we often feel, but it intersperses those heartfelt cries with hope, such as in verse 5: “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”
For citizens of heaven, life in this broken world can be overwhelming. We don’t fit in here. We don’t like or agree with much of what the world celebrates, and that feeling that we are “not home yet” can create angst. When we allow ourselves to be emotionally embroiled in ongoing conflict and fruitless debate, we can develop angst without realizing what it is (Titus 3:9; 2 Timothy 2:14). Christians who struggle with feelings of angst should ask God to develop the fruit of the Spirit, joy, in their lives (Galatians 5:22); find their satisfaction in Christ (Psalm 103:1–5); and choose the path of blessedness (Matthew 5:3–12). We are “more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:27). Jesus promised to give us His peace, saying, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). (Quote source here.)
When I’m feeling a lot of angst, I find one of the most calming sources for me to go to is book of Psalms in the Old Testament. King David wrote many of them (even before he became King), and the entire range of human emotions have been expressed by him and others often using emotional expressions we might not think of as being “nice Christian words/emotions” but rather with a raw honesty that is both refreshing and real. And God called David “a man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22) even in the midst of some grievous sins which he had committed and that had to be dealt with.
So what does “a man after God’s own heart” look like as an example for us to follow? GotQuestions.org answers that question regarding David (emphasis is mine):
To understand why David was a man after God’s own heart, we need to see what characteristics he had to qualify for such an exalted description. In the book of Acts, the apostle Paul speaks of God’s feelings about King David: “After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do’” (Acts 13:22). The answer to why David was considered a man after God’s own heart is found right in the verse: David did whatever God wanted him to do. An obvious question is how could God still call David a man after His own heart when David committed such terrible sins, including adultery and murder?
We learn much of David’s character in the book of Psalms as he opened up his life for all to examine. David’s life was a portrait of success and failure, and the biblical record highlights the fact that David was far from perfect. But what made David a cut above the rest was that his heart was pointed toward God. He had a deep desire to follow God’s will and do “everything” God wanted him to do. He was a man after God’s own heart. Let’s look at some characteristics of David’s life to discover what that entails:
Part of why David is called a man after God’s own heart is that he had absolute faith in God. Nowhere in Scripture is this point better illustrated than in 1 Samuel 17 where David as a young shepherd boy fearlessly slew the Philistine, Goliath. Shortly before the duel, we see direct evidence of David’s faith when David says, “‘The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.’ And Saul said to David, ‘Go, and the LORD be with you!’” (verse 37). David was fully aware that God was in control of his life, and he had faith that God would deliver him from impending danger. How else would one venture into a potentially fatal situation with such calm and confidence? David knew early on in life that God was to be trusted and obeyed. As we see in Scripture, David’s faith pleased God, and God rewards David for his faithfulness.
Another reason David was a man after God’s own heart is that he absolutely loved God’s Law. Of the 150 psalms in the Bible, David is credited for writing over half of them. Writing at various and often troubling times in his life, David repeatedly mentioned how much he loved God’s perfect Word. We find a beautiful example of this in Psalm 119:47–48: “For I delight in your commands because I love them. I lift up my hands to your commands, which I love, and I meditate on your decrees.” It is not hard to see his complete adoration for God’s Word. Also notice how David “meditates” on God’s statutes. God granted David understanding and wisdom through daily meditation. We would do well to not only read God’s Word but also think about it throughout the day, for God loves us to think about Him. “Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart. They do nothing wrong; they walk in his ways” (Psalm 119:2–3).
David was a man after God’s own heart in that he was truly thankful. “I wash my hands in innocence, and go about your altar, O LORD, proclaiming aloud your praise and telling of all your wonderful deeds” (Psalm 26:6–7). David’s life was marked by seasons of great peace and prosperity as well as times of fear and despair. But through all of the seasons in his life, he never forgot to thank the Lord for everything that he had. It is truly one of David’s finest characteristics. “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!” (Psalm 100:4, ESV). As followers of Jesus Christ, we would do well to follow David’s lead of offering praise through thanksgiving to our Lord.
After he sinned, David was truly repentant. David’s sin with Bathsheba is recorded in 2 Samuel 11:2–5. The mighty fall hard, and David’s fall included adultery, lying, and murder. He had sinned against God, and he admits it in 2 Samuel 12:13: “David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the LORD.’ And Nathan said to David, ‘The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.’” But admitting our sin and asking for forgiveness is only half of the equation. The other half is repentance, and David did that as well. Psalm 51 is David’s prayer of repentance to God: “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!” (Psalm 51:1–2).
In conclusion, David was a man after God’s own heart because he demonstrated his faith and was committed to following the Lord. Yes, his faith was tested on a grand scale, and he failed at times. But after his sin he sought and received the Lord’s forgiveness. In the final analysis, David loved God’s Law and sought to follow it exactly. As a man after God’s own heart, David is a role model for all of us. (Quote source here.)
Where we place our focus makes all the difference in whether we let ourselves be ruled by angst and anxiety or whether we keep our focus on God and trusting in Him completely in prayer to take care of everything going on in our lives. In an article published today, January 1, 2022, in The Christian Post titled, “2022, yet the same yesterday, today, and forever,” by Samuel Sey, op-ed contributor, he states:
Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Who he was in 2020 is who he is in 2021, and who he is in 2021 is who he’ll be in 2022.
New year, same God.
So don’t be anxious. Don’t be afraid.
The year won’t be the same. The world won’t be the same. People won’t be the same. But praise God, Jesus will be the same.
God doesn’t change. That is probably the greatest promise in the Bible. Everything we believe about God and the Gospel hinges on that. Since God doesn’t change, His promises do not change either.
Many of us, however, do not reflect on this.
The reason why we can trust that God is still sovereign—the reason why we can trust that God will still be in complete control of every atom in the universe and every action in this world in 2022 is because He doesn’t change.
What I’m describing is called the immutability of God. It means God’s essence and attributes, His plans and promises—are unchanging. God does not and cannot change.
Who God is in eternity past is who He’ll be in eternity future. Who God is at the last seconds of this year is who He’ll be at the first seconds of next year. Time doesn’t change God, God changes time. (Quote source and his entire article is available at this link.)
So… on this very first day of January 2022, let’s start this new year with less angst and more peace by following this advice from Paul in Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT): Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
And I’ll close this post with the words Paul continues with found in Philippians 4:11-13 (NLT): Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little…
For I can do everything . . .
Through Christ . . .
Who gives me strength . . . .
YouTube Video: “Help Is On The Way” by TobyMac: