Is it Wrong to be Anxious?

Do you ever think that fear and anxiety are wrong? After all, you keep reading “Do not be anxious.” That command, however, has much in common with Jesus’s words to a grieving mother: “Do not weep” (Luke 7:13 ESV). They are both words intended to comfort and assure the hearer that Jesus was going to do something.

The Bible makes it clear that we live in a world with endless threats. In this world, getting rid of all of your worries is not an option. Instead, the Lord counters your fear with comfort. So, as you grow, expect that your faith and your fear will be linked. When your fears appear, your faith is right there too. Psalm 56 is a helpful guide to this delicate process.

The psalmist puts fears into words, and then he immediately speaks of his confidence in God’s care and presence. We speak our fears and our trust at the same time. The extremes of lament meet spiritual confidence. The prayers go back and forth.

56 Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me;
    all day long an attacker oppresses me;
my enemies trample on me all day long,
    for many attack me proudly.
When I am afraid,
    I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
    in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
    What can flesh do to me?

Fears are upon him. They are not the imaginations of some distant day. After his declaration of confidence in the Lord, he returns to his overwhelming circumstances.

All day long they injure my cause;[b]
    all their thoughts are against me for evil.
They stir up strife, they lurk;
    they watch my steps,
    as they have waited for my life.
For their crime will they escape?
    In wrath cast down the peoples, O God!

With fear and faith as partners, the psalmist then refocuses his eyes on the deeper reality. God remembers each tear and even the fitful sleep of his people. And he never merely remembers. When he remembers, he acts. He is pleased to

You have kept count of my tossings;[c]
    put my tears in your bottle.
    Are they not in your book?
Then my enemies will turn back
    in the day when I call.
    This I know, that[d] God is for me..

Then he repeats his earlier refrain.

10 In God, whose word I praise,
    in the Lord, whose word I praise,
11 in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
    What can man do to me?

What can an enemy do? Quite a bit. But no enemy can restrain God from remembering and acting on your behalf. No enemy will ultimately triumph. And even death itself will not keep you from God’s presence and mercy. So as we look for mini-deliverances in daily life and ultimate deliverance and justice coming soon, with Jesus, we give thanks.

12 I must perform my vows to you, O God;
    I will render thank offerings to you.
13 For you have delivered my soul from death,
    yes, my feet from falling,
that I may walk before God
    in the light of life.

The absence of all fear, meanwhile, awaits the age to come.

Excerpted from A Small Book for the Anxious Heart by Ed Welch. © 2019 by New Growth Press.


Fear and anxiety are chronic struggles for many people that are only intensifying and increasing. Best-selling author Edward T. Welch shares the comfort and peace of Jesus in fifty brief readings for those who wrestle with fear.

About the author

Edward T. Welch

Edward T. Welch, MDiv, PhD, is a licensed psychologist and faculty member at CCEF. He earned a PhD in counseling (neuropsychology) from the University of Utah and has a Master of Divinity degree from Biblical Theological Seminary. He has written extensively on the topics of depression, fear, and addictions.

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