Anxiety and the Wilderness

John D. Barry

Isaiah 35:1–37:13; Luke 12:22–59; Job 8:11–22

Anxiety has a way of ruling over us. Although many of our concerns are legitimate—like having money to pay the rent and buy food—some of them are nonsensical. We envision future catastrophes and spend our days worrying about what might never happen, creating an emotional wilderness for ourselves.

Anxiety isn’t new. The prophet Isaiah addresses the problem: “Wilderness and dry land shall be glad, and desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus.… Say to those who are hasty of heart, ‘Be strong; you must not fear! Look! your God will come with vengeance, with divine retribution. He is the one who will come and save you’ ” (Isa 35:1, 4).

Isaiah realizes that there is a time and season for everything. He proclaims that God will bring the people out of the wilderness (their exile in Babylon) and back into their land. There is an answer to the anxiety, pain and worry that they feel about the future. His words ring with prophetic certainty because he knows them to be true—they are Yahweh’s words.

Jesus also addresses anxiety when He says to His disciples, “For this reason I tell you, do not be anxious for your life, what you will eat, or for your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens, that they neither sow nor reap; to them there is neither storeroom nor barn, and God feeds them. How much more are you worth than the birds?” (Luke 12:22–24). Why must we worry?

Why must we strive over things we cannot change? Ultimately, everything in life is a matter of depending on God.

What anxieties can you hand over to God today?

This article was originally posted in Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan.


John D. Barry is the CEO and founder of Jesus’ Economy, a nonprofit dedicated to creating jobs and churches in the developing world. To empower the extreme poor, Jesus’ Economy also has an online fair trade shop. John is also the general editor of Faithlife Study Bible and the former editor-in-chief of Bible Study Magazine. Learn more about John’s work with Jesus’ Economy at www.jesuseconomy.org.