“My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death assail me. Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me. I said, ‘Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest — I would flee far away and stay in the desert; I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.’” (Psalm 55:4-8 NIV)
Does that sound like a panic attack to you? Many factors — including biology, heredity, temperament, stress, and the particular experiences of a situation — can contribute to panic attacks. This can be a serious medical condition and should never be taken lightly. It can also be a spiritual issue as the underlying issue involved is fear.
I know of only one such experience in my own life and I would never wish it on anyone. Yet I know a number of people who experience these debilitating attacks on a regular basis. My panic attack originated in being overwhelmed with the duties of convening Congress ’96, a national event for The Presbyterian Church in Canada. It was an important occasion — the last Congress held after a 100-year history. The event entailed all the thematic, logistic, and personnel issues that can be overwhelming. Yes, it felt like a heart attack, and I had to take my leave of the meeting until I was able to calm my racing thoughts and heart. A moment in prayer, and I was back to the work of the committee, hoping never to experience anything like that again!
It took the psalmist awhile, just as it may take us awhile, but he was finally able to say, “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you. But as for me, I will trust in you.” (Psalm 55:22a,23b NIV)
Can we say the same?
“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.” (Psalm 94:19 NIV)
Prayer: Lord, we want to be free from anxiety. Help us today to put our trust in You and to let Your perfect love cast out our fear. Amen.
Copyright © 2023, by Kenn Stright <firstname.lastname@example.org>, first published on the PresbyCan Daily Devotional presbycan.ca
West Petpeswick, Nova Scotia, Canada
Used with the permission of PresbyCan and author.