I've had a long history with fear and anxiety. In fact, until recently, it pretty much dominated my life. But that's another story, which has led me to write a book on the topic. Look for it in the coming months.
Recently, I began to wonder what the Bible had to say about anxiety, and I found there is a lot! However, because of the time of year it is, the following passage caught my attention:
“As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, ‘The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.’ And they were greatly distressed.” Matthew 17:22-23 ESV
When I read the above verses, I thought, Of course they were distressed. This is really bad news!
The disciples had been following Jesus with great anticipation, seeing his miracles and watching the crowds flock around him. They saw him throw out demons (v.18). Peter, James, and John saw him talking to Moses and Elijah (v. 3). He had been teaching them about his kingdom and how it's more valuable than anything else. So far life with Jesus had been great, amazing, write-home-to-your-mother-because-you-will-never-see-the-likes-of-it-again stuff. Now, he says he is going to be killed? Distressing news indeed!
Jesus had the advantage of knowing what was going to happen to him and he kindly wanted to prepare his disciples for what was coming. In doing so, he modeled what it means to suffer within the framework of God’s purposes and power.
Unlike Jesus, we don’t know when suffering may come our way. But we do have confidence that anything that happens to us in his service is for his purposes. That is a very great comfort and can help us to not panic or be anxious, but know that we are in his hands. And that's the very best place to be when we get distressing news.