We live in times of anxiety, “critical times hard to deal with.” Many are reeling from financial crises, family breakdown, war, deadly disease outbreaks, and natural or man-made disasters. Add to this a variety of personal worries: ‘Will the growth I discovered on my body turn out to be cancer?’ ‘What kind of world will my grandchildren grow up in?’
Not all anxiety is bad. We naturally feel some stress before a test, a performance, or a job interview. And a healthy fear of danger helps us to avoid harm. But extreme or constant anxiety is destructive. A recent series of studies involving more than 68,000 adults revealed that even mild anxiety increases the risk of premature death. With good reason, then, Jesus asked: “Who of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his life span?” Indeed, worry lengthens no one’s life. Jesus therefore advised: “Stop being anxious.” But how is that even possible?