Theologian John Piper says the secret to fighting anxiety is knowing that God has works out everything for your good.
In a Memorial Day episode of Ask Pastor John, a Desiring God podcast, the producer said he recently ran a search of the show’s email inbox for the words “anxious” and “anxiety” and found that those terms came up in over 600 emails, as they often receive questions about anxiety-related issues.
Piper recounted that when he and his wife were in their mid-30s, finances were tight and they were regularly going over their budget. They discovered they were charging more expenses on their credit card so they cut it up but ended up keeping another one, though never using it.
He lost this card while on vacation in California.
“I had no idea where it was. It could’ve been at the seals show in SeaWorld, or it could have been in a fruit shop in Tijuana, where we had crossed the border to visit Mexico. It could’ve been in who knows how many McDonald’s. It could have been on the beach in Coronado, California — where the sand really is gold and the condos sell for a $1.25 million,” Piper said.
But he was not worried about this, he said.
“Under ordinary circumstances, I would have concluded that someone had already charged the limit on our card, and that we were in deep trouble. I would usually get mad at myself or the family. I would take it out on somebody with frustration indirectly. I would, of course, try to find some divine purpose that God was working through this while struggling to be happy.”
“This time it was different. I felt no worries at all. I didn’t get angry with anyone. I never felt any frustration. I was happy the whole way through.”
The reason he had this perspective was because he never realized his card had gone missing. Upon returning from vacation he saw an envelope with the card enclosed in it. A former teacher whom he had visited had found it on the floor of his car and had returned it in a letter.
“As soon as we discover we have a problem, God has already been working on it, and the solution is on the way,” Piper explained. “It will not always be with this much ease and freedom from difficulty, but God is always at work with a solution, and it’s already on the way.
“I have seen it happen again and again in my life. A letter arrives with the solution to some problem, but just the day before I had been discouraged and downcast — not knowing that the letter was already in the mail.
If God is truly sovereign and works everything for good for those who love Him and are called according to his purpose, he added, citing Romans 8:28, “we will remember that by the time we know a problem exists, God has already been working on it.”
“Yes, he is already working on it before it happens. It is fitting into a plan for our good, and therefore, don’t fret; cast all your anxieties on Him. They are as unnecessary as mine would have been for the lost Mastercard.”
Follow Brandon Showalter on Twitter: @BrandonMShow