Challenges to Humanity

Jesus is Our Big Brother: A Spiritual Antidote for Fear and Anxiety

Post Icon

Fear and anxiety are crippling emotions, emotions that play a significant role in mental health struggles. As anyone who has had mental health problems knows, problems with physical health have a tendency to exacerbate or cause mental health problems. I was chronically ill for years (14 years to be exact). In my case, an undiagnosed illness, chronic pain, countless failed treatments, and a few brushes with death often filled me with anxiety and fear. Of course, in a fallen world, we all battle fear and anxiety, to differing degrees and for different reasons. These negative emotions are an inescapable feature of living in a broken world.

But there is good news for those of us beset with fear and in the grip of anxiety. This good news is what settled my soul and calmed my central nervous system on numerous occasions. It’s the truth that Jesus is always with us and is stronger than everything that makes us anxious and afraid.

A Story of Fear and Anxiety

When I was a freshman in high school, I got caught participating in verbally roasting our football team. It just so happened that one of our larger players was walking by as I made my one contribution to the misguided discussion. Next thing I knew, my feet were dangling in midair. I had been picked up out of my seat and placed in front of the physically imposing upperclassman, who informed me that I had earned a spot in “the gauntlet.” In short, I had to make my way through a human tunnel while being met with various forms of resistance (I’ll leave it to the imagination what that resistance looked like with no teachers present).

Unfortunately, the repercussions didn’t end there. Two upperclassmen felt compelled to continue enforcing penance despite my apologies. However, one night I went to a soccer game with a guy in my neighborhood who played the role of big brother in my life. As we were walking in, I spotted one of the football players who had been causing me a great deal of fear and anxiety. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t realize that the guy walking behind me was with me. As the football player approached to intimidate me, he was quickly intercepted by my “big brother,” who, in an act of poetic justice, lifted him off his feet and placed him up against a light pole. My “big brother” informed the football player that if he so much as said a negative word to me again, there would be severe consequences. Needless to say, I went to school the next day at peace. Why? The problem had been decisively resolved: the guy on my side was bigger and stronger than the source of my fears and had leveraged his strength to subdue my antagonists.

God sent an Angel to rescue Daniel from death by lion, but He sent Jesus to rescue us from death itself.

The Christological Connection

The most comforting, peace-inducing reality in the world is the knowledge that Jesus, our spiritual big brother, has bound the strong man (Mark 3:27), taken our punishment (Romans 5:8), and defeated death (1 Peter 1:3). Jesus is bigger and stronger than the source of all our fears and anxieties.

Jesus publicly confronted and informed death and the devil that they would no longer be allowed to bully us (Colossians 2:15). As Hebrews makes clear, “through death,” Jesus has delivered “those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Hebrews 2:14-15). We no longer have to live in a state of fear and anxiety. The sting of death has been removed (1 Corinthians 15:55). Sin and death can no longer separate us from God. To the contrary, “to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21) because to depart this world is to “be with Christ” (Philippians 1:23). You see, God sent an Angel to rescue Daniel from death by lion, but He sent Jesus to rescue us from death itself.

In my darkest moments, when I was filled with anxiety and fear, I would cry out to my spiritual big brother, and He would say to me: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live” (John 11:25). When the Spirit ignites that truth in our hearts, fear and anxiety melt away. In their place, we find peace, comfort, and the courage to endure.

Knowing that the true and greater Aslan is the Lord and our Lord enables us to say like Prince Rilian in The Silver Chair, “Whether he means us to live or die…let us…take the adventure that is sent us.” It’s hard to accept sometimes, but it’s true: mental health is part of the adventure, the battle, the journey that God has sent us. It’s not easy, but it is worth it, for those who endure to the end by God’s grace will be saved from all their troubles (Matthew 24:14).

So, in the crucible of your mental suffering, cling to Christ, your big brother, and He will comfort you: “When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul” (Psalm 94:19).

Never Miss an Episode, Article, or Study!

Sign up for the CFC Newsletter now

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

adblock image

MA Ethics, Theology, and Culture

The Master of Arts Ethics, Theology, and Culture is a Seminary program providing specialized academic training that prepares men and women to impact the culture for Christ through prophetic moral witness, training in cultural engagement, and service in a variety of settings.

  • Challenges to Humanity
  • counseling
  • formation
  • ministry
Jonathan Darville

Jono Darville is a former Global Master Trainer with The Center for Leadership Studies and Co-Leader of the New York branch of Models for Christ (an international non-profit bringing the gospel to the fashion industry). Due to a decade-plus long battle with chronic illness, Jono almost lost his life in 2017. After spending a number of years bed-bound, God graciously intervened in 2020, using UNC Hospital to restore Jono’s health. Jono is now finishing an M.A. in the Philosophy of Religion at SEBTS, while serving as a Ruling Elder and Youth Director at Peace Church in Cary, NC. He and his wife, Jillian, have one son, Jono Jr.

More to Explore

Never miss an episode, article, or study.

Sign up for the Christ and Culture newsletter now!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.