Have you ever met someone who always seems so positive despite the many difficulties they are experiencing? Most of my life I have struggled with anxiety and depression, so I have always wondered how a person can emanate joy even during difficult times. Since coming to Christ last year and delving into God’s word, I am starting to understand from where that joy comes.

I have learned when studying God’s word to pay particular attention when phrases are repeated. I have been studying Matthew’s Gospel for the first time and in Matthew 8:26 and Matthew 14:31, Jesus says to one or more of his disciples, “O you of little faith”, as a rebuke to their fear in the face of a storm. Why the rebuke? The answer lies in Matthew 6:25-34 where we first see the “O you of little faith” (in verse 30) and where Jesus instructs us “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life…But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness”. In pointing out the insufficiency of the disciples’ faith, Jesus is pointing to the fact that a full and complete faith in Him takes away all fear and anxiety.

How does this relate to my question about the ever-positive person? Prior to coming to Christ, I was full of anxiety. In John 14:27, Jesus says “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” and in John 16:33 He says, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Our circumstances in the world will constantly change and good and bad times will come and go. I am learning that if we seek peace and joy from the things of this world, we will constantly experience fear and anxiety as our circumstances change. Peace and joy can only be obtained from salvation in Jesus Christ and a complete surrender of our life to Him. What does a complete surrender look like? It looks like the person who is joyful and peaceful during the difficult times. That person has a full and resolute understanding of who Christ is, what He can do and that He never changes.

Two verses that I go to when I need a renewal of my spirit and a reminder of the Lord’s power and faithfulness are Isaiah 41:10 which says, “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” and Joshua 1:9 which says,” … Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” When the storms of this world come – and come they will, often – I pray you do not succumb to fear and anxiety but that you instead choose the peace and joy which comes from a full and complete faith in Jesus and the resolute knowledge that the Lord will “uphold you” and that He is “with you wherever you go”.

– Sabrina Stewart