Anxiety – What it is

After the heavenly messenger delivers his initial instructions, Gideon quickly questions: “If the Lord is really with us, why has all this evil happened?” And Gideon makes it most clear – if God wants a deliverer, I am definitely not the man for the job! After all, he is the least in the family … belonging to the weakest clan … in the small tribe of Manasseh. Gideon exclaims, “How can I save Israel?” (Judges 6) cowering with the angst of anxiety.

Gideon knows that the monstrous Midianites have a new weapon enabling them to make swift, long-range attacks against the Hebrews – rendering them virtually powerless. This terrible weapon is nothing other than … the camel!

Without food or water and with heavy loads, they cover 480 kilometers in 3 or 4 days. At harvest time, the Midianites simply ascend from the desert and quickly cover the land “like swarms of locusts.” The Midianite troops and camels, both “impossible to count,” strip Israel bare of everything edible. Then, loaded with their plunder, they return to the desert until the next harvest is ripe.

Existing like this for 7 years reduces Gideon and all the people to threshing meager amounts of grain in winepresses – hiding food and themselves in mountain dens and caves. No wonder Gideon is fearfully anxious and fully persuaded that “The Lord has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian” (Judges 6:13).

Gideon’s continual fear has a “close cousin” called anxiety.

  • Anxiety in the psychological/psychiatric world is the “umbrella” word covering varying degrees of worry and fear, ranging from mild to extreme.
  • Anxiety is an uneasiness or distress over a threat or something unknown and is characterized by extreme worry or brooding fear.
  • Anxiety stems from uncertainty – hoping something will happen, but having no guarantee that it will … or fearing something will happen, but having no control over whether it will or not.
  • Anxiety can lead to “catastrophic thinking” overestimating the likelihood of danger or a negative outcome.
  • Anxiety becomes a “disorder” when it becomes so intense that it dominates a person’s thoughts, feelings, and actions, preventing the person from living a normal life.

There are different kinds of Anxiety Disorders:

  • Phobias
  • Panic disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorders
  • Obsessive personality disorder
  • Anxiety due to a medical condition
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Acute stress disorder
  • Generalised anxiety disorder
  • Substance-induced anxiety