My high school English teacher used to try to drill home with us the difference between eager and anxious. Being eager was to be excited about an opportunity or an upcoming event. Being anxious was to be nervous or worried about the upcoming event. “If you’re excited about what’s coming,” she would say, “don’t say you’re anxious to go.” She wanted to make sure we knew the difference because they have two very different meanings and we often interchange them incorrectly.
I want us to understand their differences as well as we read Scripture. Psalm 94:19 says, “Whenever I am anxious and worried, you comfort me and make me glad” (GNT). God can take something that we are anxious about and make us eager about it, but we have to let Him. The problem is many of us get addicted to being anxious and we live in the land of worry instead of expectation. God’s desire is that we be eager instead of anxious.
Philippians 4:6 says, “Don’t worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart.” The version I learned this verse in used the words “be anxious” instead of “worry”. Either way, God’s message to us is the same. Don’t be anxious about anything, but if you are, let those feelings drive you to prayer where you can eagerly expect what God will do for you instead of anxiously awaiting the outcome of the situation.
Worry robs you of energy, sleep, and life, but eagerness gives you energy. Being anxious won’t change the outcome, but prayer will. God can comfort our anxious spirit, give us an eagerness to see what He will do, and make us glad. We need to quit trusting in what we believe will happen, and let our faith dictate prayers that will change the future to one we can be eager to receive. Even if the worst happens, God can use it for our good. That’s something to be eager about.