The Newsweek headline reads: “Millennials Are the Most Anxious Generation, New Research Shows.”
Most anxious generation? Perhaps, but millennials do not suffer alone.
Anxiety is a pan-generational issue. Everyone struggles to some degree. This is one reason the Scriptures are replete with the admonition, “Do not fear.” This is why Jesus says three times in Matthew 6, “Do not be anxious.”
Our souls know too well the feeling of unrest.
The battle with anxiety may leave us asking, “Is there even a tiny corner on this massive globe where one might find a little peace and safety?”
Yes, there is. I discovered it in a letter an aging Martin Luther wrote to his beloved wife, Katherine.
On February 10, 1546 (just a week before his death), Martin Luther put pen to paper to put his worried wife at ease. Luther's health had been fading. Despite the challenges brought on by a life of trials and his waning vitality, Luther took his three boys and made a difficult trip to Eisleben to help friends family sort out some troubles.
Katherine was worried sick and let Luther know it in a series of letters she sent him.
In his book, Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed The World, Eric Metaxas chronicles the concerns of his beloved wife. Metaxas writes, "Kathie had made it clear in her letters that her worries over her husband at this time were so severe that she was losing sleep over them."
Luther responded with a letter full of his usual playful banter, loving concern for Katherine, and insight into the goodness, power, and love of God to meet his needs and hers:
To my dear wife, Katherine Luther, doctoress and self-tormentor at Wittenberg, my gracious lady,
Grace and peace in the Lord! Read, dear Kathie [the gospel of] John and [my] Small Catechism, of which you once said: Indeed, everything in this book is said about me. For you want to assume the cares of your God, just as if He were not almighty and were unable to create ten Dr. Martins if this old one were drowned in the Saale or suffocated in a stove. . . . Leave me in peace with your worrying! I have a better Caretaker than you and all the angels. He it is who lies in a manager and nurses at a virgin's breast, but at the same time sits at the right hand of God, the almighty Father.
Therefore be at rest. Amen.
"Therefore be at rest." This is the word God has for you today. "Be at rest" does not mean ignore the pain, forget the hurting, or pretend the world is getting better as it continually spirals out of control. No, what it means is that we have a loving Father who cares for us. As Luther put it so well:
The reason for our confidence in God's care is etched in German around the tower of the Castle Church, where Luther preached so often. The words say,
So yes, there is a place on this big globe -- a fortress in fact -- where we can always run to find what the world cannot give, true peace.
As you begin this day, do what Luther encouraged Katherine to do; do what Peter exhorts us to do: Cast all your anxiety upon him, because he cares for you.
We also invite you to our new series, No More Anxious Days this Sunday at 9:00 and 10:45 a.m.. Anxiety is real. God cares. We want to share with you His hope and His help.
We kicked off No More Anxious Days on Easter Sunday (click here to watch or listen to the message). Mary came away from her first encounter with the empty tomb “with fear and great joy” (Matthew 28:8). That’s life isn’t it? Moments of great joy marked by moments of fear and anxiety. This series will help you navigate that tension.
You can click here to read my review of Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed The World, by Eric Metaxas
"Kathie had made it clear . . ." from Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed The World, by Eric Metaxas. New York: Viking. Page 424.
"To my dear wife, Katherine Luther . . ." are from Luther Works, 50:284. I read them in Metaxas, Martin Luther, pages 424-425.