22 Then he said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, don’t worry about your life, what you will eat; or about the body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: They don’t sow or reap; they don’t have a storeroom or a barn; yet God feeds them. Aren’t you worth much more than the birds? 25 Can any of you add one moment to his life-span by worrying? 26 If then you’re not able to do even a little thing, why worry about the rest? 27 “Consider how the wildflowers grow: They don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these. 28 If that’s how God clothes the grass, which is in the field today and is thrown into the furnace tomorrow, how much more will he do for you—you of little faith? 29 Don’t strive for what you should eat and what you should drink, and don’t be anxious. 30 For the Gentile world eagerly seeks all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 “But seek his kingdom, and these things will be provided for you. 32 Don’t be afraid, little flock, because your Father delights to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Make money-bags for yourselves that won’t grow old, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
In November of 2007, I was a leader in the youth ministry for a church. One evening, I received a concerning call about one of the youths, who had just taken a large amount of sleeping pills. The young man was an optimistic person with a promising future, having just been accepted to Duke University. The reasons for him wanting to take his life eluded us. The quick response from paramedics saved the young man’s life, but he soon suffered from a major depressive disorder from the incident. We would later discover that he was feeling worthless because he could not afford a nicer car or laptop to take to the prestigious school.
Today, nearly 264 million people worldwide live with anxiety and depression. Close to 800,000 people die due to suicide every year, with suicide being the second leading cause of death in 15 to 29-year-olds. This same age group is also the largest group, who are more likely to be religiously unaffiliated. How are we to help the next generation?
In the verses from Luke, Jesus states to be anxious for nothing. God will provide for all our needs if we seek Him first. So much of our existence is wrapped in the things this world calls as important. What we wear, what we drive, where we live, and even what we eat can all be viewed by others to determine our status in the world.
In my own life, I have suffered with anxiety and depression from not being able to provide those who I loved and cared for in a manner that they wished. I so wanted them to have everything that they desired that I would sacrifice my own happiness and future in that pursuit. If I would have only listened to the words that Jesus was trying to express, I would have been able to avoid the trials that ensued from my actions.
Daily anxieties often come from the fact that we want God to come through in our time and in our way. We must use the old phrase “let go and let God.” By doing this, everything will be done through God’s desires for us. This is how we can free ourselves from the anxiety and depression that is caused from relying on the world to satisfy us over living for the kingdom of God.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- How often do you go to God for all your needs, not wants?
- When you think of any of your desires, can you honestly state that they are in line with what you believe God wants for you?
- Depression and Anxiety is a very serious condition that should not be ignored. If you are feeling overwhelmed or have feelings of suicide, the church has resources who you can talk to in order to get the help you need. Go to Church/mental-health for more information.