Friday, August 01, 2008

a good anxiety?

Yesterday on Scot McKnight's Jesus Creed blog, was for me, a most interesting post on faith and anxiety. Seems in a Kirkegaardian, and really a Scriptural in Jesus way, that there is a good anxiety, along with the bad.

Of course we can say, anxiety is anxiety, and we're told in Scripture to be anxious for nothing, but rather to pray. However, I think there's an inevitable anxiety at work in our walk of faith in this life. It's an anxiety which is a part of what is at the heart of the nature of our faith walk. Inherently faith is a matter of trusting, in this case trusting God in Jesus. That means we're not in control and we're dependent. It also often means in this life that we just can't see the outcome. We're at God's mercy. And that is what faith is all about.

This good angst also involves asking the hard questions and not ducking from them. Too often we just give quick, easy, skirting answers to questions that ought to trouble us.

Of course we want that perfect peace promised to those who trust God. But getting it requires a faith that is willing to step out into what is unknown and unseen, trusting in God that he will be there and help us, each step of the way.

I know for me that anything new, which can include a new day, involves a faith that knows not the new situation thrown at me. It seems healthy for me to see life as a venture with God, rather than the predictable "same old, same old." I've been caught off guard at times by troubles that came, especially when from another person. But I think I would have been better prepared if I would have approached each day with that sense of faith that is committed to trusting in God and his word, in a way that is committed to the dynamic of God's ongoing work and the growth and change that comes with it. Then I wouldn't have been thrown to the ground as I have been at times. Or at least I would have been better able to walk through such times in a way that better honored God.

Go to that post and give it a read. Along with the comments. A good exercise in thinking, I think, about faith and life.

And what might you like to add to this?


Anonymous said...

i think i will for now pronounce it "an-exit-tee", looking for an exit.

kind of like claustrophobia and needing to have an exit.

and finding that exit to be the Love of Jesus.

Jesus has a way of redefining.

Anonymous said...

phobia, now there is another bothersome word. where do they get off labeling everything a phobia as a fear. "from phobos "fear," originally "flight"..." we do want to fly, when i was a child, i would dream that i could fly, and it was so real that in the day i thought that if i jumped off of the porch and flapped my arms quick enough while in the air, that i would start to soar. the dreams were a lot of fun because in them i would actually fly around rooms. and in the Love of Jesus we are lifted up and know that there will be a time when we actually do fly away with Him. we are set free here and now to be lifted up into His Love and we have His Spirit of God in us and we are set free. He takes us through an-exit. He is with us and takes us and Loves us through all of life here and then together we will fly with Him to a place where there will be no need of words to describe our longing.

we will fly alright!
we will fly with Jesus.
i think it will be beyond descripton or words.

Allan R. Bevere said...


Good nuance here. There is a good kind of angst, as you say; unfortunately Jesus' words have sometimes been misinterpreted to mean that we should never feel such positive angst. But the only way to do that would to become people who do not care about what is good and right and just and important.

preacherman said...

Wonderfully said brother.
I really enjoyed this post.
I think good anxiety is benefital to our relationship with God Almighty.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Creative and good way of looking at it.

I too used to have dreams like that, flying around in rooms and then up high in the sky. Very real to me then, as well. In fact I used to think at times, it seems, that they had really happened.

I think we do find Jesus in this type of faith spoken of in the post. But learning to walk through it in this fallen world of which we're a part involves a kind of healthy anxiety, I take it. But also, as you say, a learning to rest in the arms of Jesus.

Ted M. Gossard said...

You sound a note here that was missing (on my post, anyhow) and needs to be heard and an important part of this. Yes, it will never be easy to live in this faith in this world, because it's a faith which doesn't rest in the sense that we're active in Jesus to proclaim, live out and do the works of God's good will in his kingdom in Jesus, in a world that sorely needs it, and that has constant pulls against it.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks. I know you know this firsthand in a way that most of the rest of us do not.