We all, at one point or another, have experienced anxiety or suffering to some degree, and many of us have experienced both. The way our world addresses anxiety is to offer temporal solutions that may (to some extent) ease the physical side-effects of anxiety. But, in the grand scheme of anxiety itself, these temporal solutions do nothing for the root problem: I’m actually anxious, I’m actually stressed. The same can be said for the way our world addresses suffering; often the solutions offered to the sufferer do nothing for the greater problem: I’m actually suffering, I’m actually hurting. We’d tell the anxious to go for a walk, take a few deep breaths, or try some yoga; we’d tell the sufferer “it’s going to be okay” or, worse yet, we exhort them to cheer up! Ultimately, we want to get the anxious to be not anxious and the suffering to be not suffering because their anxiety and suffering is making our life messy and their pain causes us discomfort.
But don’t the anxious and the suffering need to hear a better word? Don’t the anxious and the suffering need to be heard?
Both anxiety and suffering back us into a corner, rendering us and all of our tools and weapons useless. Both anxiety and suffering bring us to our knees, with empty hands, and we cry out: I can’t bare this! And, in this confession, we are eager to hear the better word of the Gospel: come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matt 11:28). And in hearing this word again and again, we, those who have heard, can enter into that darkness with the anxious and the suffering and sit with them.
Join me in discussing anxiety, suffering, and how the word of the Gospel is our rest.