I vividly remember my first panic attack which is why I want to write this post of Bible stories about anxiety. I know too well the inability to breathe, the weakness, the whirling, the frantic beating of your heart.
Actually, I’ve written quite a bit about anxiety (I will list some links in a bit) because it has been a daily struggle with me since I put my beautiful eight year old daughter in the ground. Every single day I must lean into God and rely on His strength.
Our heavenly father never left me to handle this pain on my own. God’s love and grace and strength surrounded me on the days when I thought I had died myself. That is the good news I need to be shouting from the rooftops.
Whether you are suffering from chronic anxiety, mental health issues, the loss of a family member or whatever else this fallen world has handed you, I pray you find comfort here.
Bible Stories About Anxiety
I will be honest here and tell you that there is no way I could live through the fear I have in my head all the time without God’s help. Focusing on the peace of God is my salvation. I believe that is the first step to overcoming anxiety- focusing on God.
Lessons on Anxiety from King David
Let’s begin these Bible stories about anxiety with the Old Testament. What comes to mind when you think of King David? The brave young man, full of faith who fought the giant? A man after God’s own heart who loved God fiercely? Or maybe many of you think of the sinful things David did that have been recorded for all to read and judge.
David had many reasons to be anxious.
First, Saul hunts him down and tries to kill him. David ran for his life for several years, hiding in caves and traveling from city to city to evade him.
Later, David had to run from his own son, Absalom, who tried to take the throne away.
David did not suck it up and bear it bravely. As we can see from the above verses, he turned to God in his fear.
Bible Stories About Anxiety: Elijah’s Story
We see the mighty hand of God in Elijah’s story compared to Moses and the plagues of Egypt. Few Old or New Testament biblical characters worked miracles and wonders like we see with Elijah. So why would I put Elijah in a post about anxiety? Surely, he did not show a lack of faith when he called fire down from heaven causing the children of Israel to fall to the ground and confess the one true God.
Elijah stops the rain causing a three year drought because of the idolatry of Israel. The evil King Ahab and Queen Jezebel have hunted down the priests and abolished any worship of the true God.
Baal worship was their only choice.
God hides Elijah from the wicked king and queen for three years, providing him with food and water in miraculous ways.
When the time comes for God to prove to the people that He is indeed still the only true God, Elijah challenges the prophets of baal.
They would prepare a sacrifice for Baal and perform their rituals. He would prepare a sacrifice for Yahveh as well. The real God would consume the sacrifice.
Thousands of people gathered together that day to watch this challenge. The prophets of Baal cut themselves and chanted louder and louder, but to no avail.
When it was Elijah’s turn, his prayer was simple. He didn’t need loud or elaborate, he knew God was about to show Himself.
Fire came down from heaven in such heat that it consumed the sacrifice, the stone altar, and the water that had been poured in a trench around the altar.
The people fell to the ground confessing and repenting.
Queen Jezebel is furious and threatens to kill Elijah.
What does Elijah do? He runs in fear.
This man had just called fire down from heaven. Earlier in the drought he had raised a boy from the dead. God had sent ravens with meat to feed him every day while he hid from Jezebel the first time, but Elijah was exhausted and he ran.
He runs far, a 40 day journey to Mount Horeb where he hides in a cave.
God was still with Elijah in his fear. He continued to teach Elijah about who He is.
God does not leave us in our fear. He teaches and guides and instructs.
BUT we have to be sensitive to His voice. He was not in the earthquake or the fire or the storm, God was in the still small voice.
Only when we listen to that still small voice will it become louder than our anxiety.
Lessons on Anxiety from the Book of Job
We can learn a lot from the story of Job. Since we are talking about anxiety, I am only going to share two verses from Job with you otherwise I will get distracted and we will be discussing spiritual warfare and acceptance of suffering before too long.
When satan takes away all of Job’s wealth and his children, this was his response:
When satan strikes Job’s health, his wife tells him to curse God and die, but he responds:
Acceptance of God’s will, both good and bad, chases away anxiety and brings peace.
Bible Stories About Anxiety: King Saul
The only Bible character in this post that was not godly is King Saul and we can see how not turning to God or turning away from God is never a good thing. A guilty conscience will cause you anxiety every time (ask me how I know!).
This verse tells us two things:
- the Spirit of the Lord left Saul
- An evil spirit took its place
Why did the spirit of the Lord leave Saul? Because he sinned repeatedly. He began his kingship a humble and godly young man. I don’t know if power or money or rank went to his head, but he began going against God’s words, ignoring the Prophet Samuel, and doing things his own way.
This led to God taking His hand off of Saul, anointing a new king, and allowing rebellion to run its course. It ended like every other rebellious story; Saul repeatedly made poor choices and fell deeper into the grave he dug himself.
If your anxiety is caused by separation from God, these posts will help you!
Lessons on Anxiety from the Prophet Habakkuk
The prophet Habakkuk lived in the final years of Judah before their capture by Babylon. He struggles with the evil in the world and the anxiety of what is to come.
Habakkuk is only three chapters long, but it is insightful. The end is what I’d like to include today in our lessons on anxiety.
In spite of the coming judgment, Habakkuk finds his peace in God. No matter how bad things get, God is greater and He alone will help us get through them.
Bible Stories About Anxiety: Jonah’s Story
Do you know what caused Jonah’s anxiety? Not being obedient to God’s call. With Jonah’s story I want to discuss how Jonah knew God would act differently than he wanted which made him run from God and brought him a lot of anxiety. As I mentioned above, going in the opposite direction from where God instructs you will never give you a sound mind.
The knowledge that we are NOT in control brings on anxiety. Am I right?
It was the same for Jonah. He knew that God would not do what Jonah thought was best so he ran from God.
In our situation, we have trouble trusting God to do what is best because it is so often different from what we think we want or need. We pray and give it to God and then snatch it right back again.
Jonah knew that God was merciful and would forgive the people of Nineveh if they took his preaching seriously and repented. The Assyrians were wicked heathens. They didn’t deserve mercy.
The Assyrians were known for skinning people alive. Jonah also risked angering them and meeting a painful death. That would be a good reason to run in the opposite direction.
So, Jonah is stuck between two possible reactions to his teaching and neither being what he wants so he runs away. Can you relate?
What can we learn from Jonah about anxiety?
Anxiety can be caused by the knowledge that we are not in control and that being obedient to God may not end the way we want. However, NOT being obedient to God will always end in destruction.
Cling to this verse.
Bible Stories About Anxiety: The Garden of Gethsemane
Let’s turn to the New Testament for this last Bible story about anxiety.
Jesus’ ministry has come to an end. He had brought sight to the blind, raised the dead, spent hours teaching the people, and now, the real purpose for being sent to earth.
To die for the sins of the people.
Not an easy thing, knowing you are about to die. Sure, it wasn’t a surprise, he’d known it was coming all along, but the pain would be unbearable.
Even more than that, the anticipation of being separated from his father, as the sins of the world were placed upon him, was more than he could bear.
Notice that he ends the prayer with an acceptance of God’s will.
Lean into God’s will, and draw strength from knowing that a greater one than you is in control.
Lessons on anxiety from Christ Jesus
Did you notice that these stories tell of a season of life, a period of time, in the life of the anxious person. We are not meant to live in such distress for a long. A difficult time should help us grow closer to God, but not consume us.
While the customs and lifestyle of biblical times are different than ours today, human nature remains the same. From God walking in the garden with Adam and Eve to appearing to Moses in the burning bush, to Christ defeating death on Calvary, we can see that God wants to commune with His people.
God’s presence is among us and He wants our unwavering trust and dedication. He wants to be the close friend we turn to when bad things happen rather than trying to carry the load ourselves.
What does Jesus Christ say about anxiety?
He says not to worry! He also says worrying doesn’t change anything!
Bible Verses About Anxious Thoughts
The best way to strengthen an anxious heart is with God’s word. We serve the Lord of peace and no matter what Satan tells you, it is not God’s plan for you to be overcome with feelings of anxiety on a regular basis.
Of course, we all experience anxious times, but we serve a powerful God who holds all things in His hand. He wants to be involved in our daily lives and longs for us to reach out to Him for strength.
These verses are great for memorizing or hanging up in places you will see them every day.
I pray these Bible stories about anxiety bring you peace. Which stories did you enjoy the most? Which ones did you find the most relatable? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below!
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