Bible Basics Explained | Anxiety Part 1

Day 1 of 3 • This day’s reading

Devotional

Day 1 | Psalm 139:1-12 | Fully Known

This devotional works best as an audio experience. Hit the play button now, and read along if you like. All verses are quoted from the NIV.

Hello my friends! Welcome to Bible Basics Explained. My name is Kris Langham, and I’ll be your guide today as we embark on a little journey to find out what the Bible says about anxiety.

Now right up front, I have to admit to you that the first time I started this, I started wrong. I had good intentions and all. I just missed something. My daughter Daisy is a twenty something, and she edits the audio. So she listened to the first plan I created. She’s also dealt with anxiety for a long time in a pretty serious way. And she said the plan was good - but it skipped something. Something important.

I started out in Philippians 4, a fantastic passage that really helps me with anxiety. The only problem was starting there was sort of like a friend offering advice without actually listening to your problems. Ever had that? Try to confide in a friend, and before you get half way through the first sentence, they’ve already got the solution. Hold on amigo. Listen first. Just imagine if your doctor gave you a prescription without even hearing you out, without first taking the time to know you or your problem.

Well, to be honest, sometimes we do that as Christians. “Got anxiety? Philippians 4:6. Pow! There’s your prescription. Take one dose of Matthew 6:34 to top it off, and you’re cured. Slap a bandaid on that puppy and you’re good to go. Next problem!”

Wo there cowboy. That’s not listening, it’s not caring, and it’s certainly not taking the time to know someone. Listen. When you’re really struggling inside, it can feel very lonely, and what you need most is someone to know you, not just fix you. You need them to care.

If you’re dealing with anxiety right now, I want you to know you’re not alone. We care about you. God cares about you.

If you’re helping someone with anxiety, remember to listen first. Your quick fix solutions may be well intended, but they can often feel like shaming. If your friend has been battling this for years and you walk in with, “Oh just do this - it’s easy!” It can feel like you’re saying, “If you were a good Christian, you’d know this already.” Shame makes anxiety worse, so don’t add to it. The best help you can offer is listening.

But how do I do that here on this reading plan? This is after all recorded audio. You’re listening to me, not the other way around. It would be a little freaky if I could hear you.

So I asked my daughter where she thinks I should begin. And she suggested her favorite Psalm. And it is the perfect place. So we’re moving Philippians 4 into part 2, and we’re starting this one in Psalm 139, beginning at verse 1:

“You have searched me, Lord, and you know me" (Psalm 139:1).

Stop there. That’s huge. God knows you. He knows everything about you. He searches you and He still loves you. Verse 2:

“You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar" (Psalm 139:2).

Even when you feel alone in your thoughts, God knows. You are not alone. When you move and when you stop, He is there. He hears you, he listens, and he cares. Verse 3:

“You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely" (Psalm 139:3-4).

I love that. For those times when you feel like you just can’t express your feelings clearly, God understands your words even before you say them. Verse 5:

“You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain” (Psalm 139:5-6).

This is so beautiful. David is the writer of this Psalm. He was no stranger to trouble, and quite familiar with all kinds of mixed emotions. But here, he simply sets himself in awe at the fact that God knows him. Knows him deeply. And as he reflects on it, he says - that kind of knowledge, God’s knowledge of me, is too wonderful for me to even grasp.

So the first six verses are all about being known. But the next six move to God’s presence, and the impossibility of escaping it. Verse 7:

“Where can I go from your Spirit? 
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,'
even the darkness will not be dark to you; 
the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you." (Psalm 139:7-12).

No matter how far you run, no matter where you hide away, God is there. God sees you and He knows you. You may feel alone in the darkness, but God is with you. And there is a deep rest that comes in simply knowing His presence. I call it the awareness of His thereness.

And that, for me, changes everything. Like a little kid alone in bed at night, afraid of every threat real or imagined. Yet they all fade into nothing when I know that God is there that God keeps me safe. And God loves me.

Man, that is so good and so much to consider, I think we’ll break there for today. Read Psalm 139 for yourself, and take some time to consider just how well the Lord knows you.

Next: Read Psalm 139:1-12

For Thought & Discussion:

  1. In verses 1-6, what does it mean to you that God knows you thoroughly? How should that realization affect your worries and concerns?
  2. In verses 7-12, David reflects on the impossibility of fleeing from God. How does your awareness of God’s presence with you in every place affect your thoughts and your heart?