Now I can think of two kinds of disturbed responses to this truth. Let me tell you what they are and then give a biblical response before we go on to the battle against the unbelief of anxiety.
1. “This Is Not Good News!”
One response would go like this: This is not good news! In fact it is very discouraging to learn that what I thought was a mere struggle with an anxious disposition is in fact a far deeper struggle with whether I believe God or not.
Now my response to this is to agree but then to disagree. Suppose you had been having pain in your stomach and had been struggling with medicines and diets of all kinds to no avail. And then suppose that your doctor tells you after a routine visit that you have cancer in your small intestine. Would that be good news? You say, emphatically not! And I agree.
But let me ask the question another way: Are you glad that the doctor discovered the cancer while it is still treatable, and that indeed it can be very successfully treated? You say, yes, I am very glad that the doctor found the real problem. Again I agree.
So the news that you have cancer is not good news because having cancer is good. It is good news because knowing what is really wrong is good news, especially when it can be treated successfully.
That’s what it’s like to learn that the real problem behind anxiety is unbelief in the promises of God. It’s not good news because the cancer of unbelief is good. It’s good because KNOWING WHAT IS REALLY WRONG is good, especially because unbelief can be treated so successfully by our great physician.
So I want to stress that finding out the connection between our anxiety and our unbelief is in fact very good news, because it is the only way to begin the battle with the real cause of our sin and get the victory that God can give us by the therapy of his Word and his Spirit.
2. “How Can I Have Any Assurance at All?”
There is another possible response to the truth that our anxiety is rooted in our unbelief in God’s promises. It goes like this: I have to deal with feelings of anxiety almost every day; and so I feel like my belief in God must be totally inadequate. So I wonder if I can have any assurance of being saved at all.