25Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.
Paul writes in Romans 8:29 that God has predestined His people to be conformed to the image of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. The Proverbs assist us in that process, directing us in the way of wisdom and teaching us what it is to imitate our Lord’s character. Today we are instructed to relieve others’ anxiety and depression through good words.
Anxiety is a common temptation for us as fallen creatures. Satan takes advantage of our finitude and our inability to control the circumstances of our lives to move us to anxiety. Webster defines anxiety as “concern or solicitude respecting some event, future or uncertain, which disturbs the mind, and keeps it in a state of painful uneasiness.” So we can be anxious about the weather, anxious about our appearance, anxious about our health, anxious about a strained relationship, anxious about some gossip that we have heard, anxious about the political situation, anxious about how we will provide for our family or solve a problem or complete all our assignments or shepherd our children. In short, we can become anxious about just about anything.
This anxiety in the heart, Proverbs tells us, causes depression. If we do not cut this anxiety out of our lives and entrust ourselves to the loving care of Almighty God who controls all the uncertainties of life and has promised to cause all things to work together for the good of those who love Him, then it will cause our heart to be cast down and overwhelmed.
In such times, when we are anxious and cast down, how helpful it is to hear a good word from another: “But a good word makes [the heart] glad.” God uses good words, true words, encouraging words, to break our anxieties and relieve our heaviness of heart. So Isaiah exhorts us:
3Strengthen the weak hands, And make firm the feeble knees. 4Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.”
Isaiah urges us not to be distant from those who are anxious and fearful-hearted but to remind them of the truth: God is good and He promises to do good for all those who are in Christ Jesus. He will not abandon us to our fears. So do not grow weary, do not grow faint, God shall rescue you just at the breaking of the dawn.
So what of you? Is your heart full of anxiety today? Are you downcast and depressed? Then hear today a good word. God our Creator is the Lord of heaven and earth. He has so loved us that He sent His Son to bear our burdens that through faith in Him we might know that God loves us and is on our side. So our Lord Jesus reminds us:
25“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Mt 6:25-26)
You are of much more value than the birds of the air. So do not be anxious. Your heavenly Father will care for you.
Reminded that we are often tempted to anxiety and depression and that we often neglect to speak good words to one another so as to relieve anxiety and instead feed others’ anxieties with negative and fearful words, let us confess our lack of faith to our Father in heaven. And as we confess, let us kneel as we are able.