At the Intersection of East and West:
Deacon Michael Hyatt: I have been thinking a lot lately about fear. In fact, I was a little afraid to talk about it, but I thought this is a problem, I think, that not only I face, but that a lot of people I know face.
We had a couple over for dinner the other night and the woman was expressing the struggle that she had faced with fear. I have to say that fear has been a dominant part of my own personal journey and personal story. In junior high my family moved from Nebraska to Texas. I was in middle school, which has got to be absolutely the roughest time for kids.
I got beat up in school, and I was constantly looking over my shoulder wondering if somebody was going to jump me, or want to fight me, and that was just kind of that time in my life.
In high school, of course, I feared that I wouldn’t be accepted, primarily by girls. Nobody wants to talk about it, but that was the fear in High School, that I was not going to be accepted by these really cute girls.
In college I feared that I didn’t have what it took. I began with a Music major. I thought I was pretty good when I was in high school until I got up against all these world class musicians and I thought, “No way.”
Then, in my career I have always had this fear that I would lose my job, that eventually, the people that were in charge would figure out that I didn’t know what I was doing, and they would show up at my doorstep and say, “Okay, the gig’s up. We’ve got the scoop. You don’t really know what you are going. You are not qualified to be doing what you are doing.”
I would say, even in this last recession, there were many times when I couldn’t sleep at night, when I was afraid, thinking what would happen to my company? What was the future of our country? What was going to happen to me personally? What would happen to Gail? All that kind of stuff.
Even with my health, I feared that I would have a heart attack and die young. The good news is, I’m not young anymore. (laughter) So I can’t die young, though I can die. There were about three different times I ended up in the emergency room, thinking I was having a heart attack, and it took me three visits, and an extended time with the cardiologist to figure out that it, in fact, had nothing to do with my heart, that I may die of something else, but it’s probably not going to be of that, anytime soon.
Of course, with my children, I thought if I could just get my kids raised, then I wouldn’t have to be afraid if they were out too late, or whatever. Now we have grandkids. It’s a whole different set of worries now as I begin to think about them.
I have had a lot of experience with fear. Most of us, I think, are at least amateurs when it comes to fear, but in 1998 I turned pro. I wrote a book on the millennium bug, the whole Y2K scare. I was dead serious. It wasn’t like I thought that it was an opportunity to sell books. In fact, the book that I wrote called The Millennium Bug, almost got cancelled because nobody wanted it. The publisher called me a few months before it was supposed to go to press and said, “I’m really sorry. I’ve dreaded making this phone call, but we are going to cancel the book.”
I had invested a lot of effort and a lot of time into writing that book, and I was able, successfully, thankfully my sales training came in handy, to talk him back into publishing the book. They did a modest printing of about 2500 copies and it went on to become a New York Times bestseller. But during that time, I was honestly afraid. I moved to the country, because I had not actually gone public with as bad as I thought it was going to be. I testified before Congress, I was dealing with leading software companies, so I was getting was I thought was the inside scoop on how bad this was going to be. I really thought it was going to be the end of the world as we know it, and I prepared accordingly.
Of course, no one was more surprised than I when the clock rolled over in the year 2000 and it was a big, fat nothing. Nothing happened. For a lot of people who were kind of hard core in that sort of thing, they thought, “Well, it wasn’t that, but it’s going to be something else. We have to stay prepared.” And in point of fact, continuing with my pro legacy with fear, I went on to write a book in 2001 called Invasion of Privacy, How To Protect Yourself in the Digital Age, because the government was spying on us with all kinds of sophisticated satellites, and big business was trying to get all your personal information, and they were going to exploit it. I just turned the fear to a new subject area.
We live in a culture driven by fear, too, don’t we? Just think about the news cycle in the last twelve months. This past spring, we had the BP oil spill. Remember that? It was the mother of all oil spills. It was going to be the end. I had been reading this in the press, and sophisticated publications like the Wall Street Journal that said things like, “This oil spill is going to end up hitting the beaches of England.” They had a pattern they had created of how this was going to happen.
There were other people who were predicting that this was going to so destroy the Gulf Coast economy that it would have an impact, a cascading effect on the American economy, and through that, to the entire world. Gail and I normally vacation outside of Destin and Seaside and we canceled our plans because of the BP oil spill. We decided that we would vacation in North Carolina, which, as it turned out, was a great decision. We really enjoyed it.
But I really felt badly for my friends who were along the coast, and there were some pockets where it messed things up. I read one report, though, that the people trying to clean up the oil in Louisiana, actually, had a worse environmental impact than the oil did, because of all the trampling of the marshes and everything else. I don’t know if that is true or not, I’m not qualified to speak to it, but I know that not much happened. I talked to people that visited the Gulf, that went ahead and took their vacations, and enjoyed the sun and the water, and there was some isolated oil, but not much.
Of course, now we have the economic deficit that threatens to destroy our economy, so every day you read in the paper about how the deficit is 14 trillion dollars plus, and what that is going to mean to our children. And there is the whole Obamacare thing, everybody is screaming about that. All you have to do is turn on the news at night, particular networks, and it is all this end of the world stuff.
And then, my favorite of all is Snowmaggedon. (laughter) Living in Nashville, we have gone years with nothing more than just a dusting of snow per year. This year, and I’m counting them, we have had five snows so far, not counting the few flurries that we had yesterday that didn’t amount to anything. We have had five snows. And in the Midwest they have had unprecedented snowfall. I exchanged email with John Maddex at Ancient Faith Radio this week, and he said that they had gotten three feet of snow in the little town he lives in outside of Chicago. So, Snowmaggedon, and this is big business now.
Years ago I read a very powerful book by Neil Postman called, Amusing Ourselves To Death. Has anybody read that? It is a great book. I highly recommend it. The premise is that entertainment has overtaken our culture as the dominant value by which everything else is judged. Something is only valuable to the extent that it entertains us, and this has, in fact, infected many churches today, because lots of churches feel compelled to compete with the entertainment that they see in the theater or on TV, and the worship services often become a sort of variety show, with entertainment, and that is what they are striving for.
I suggested to a few of my editors this week that I think we need to get someone to write a book now, and here is my title, I actually worked on this a little bit: Scaring Ourselves To Death, How the Media’s Relentless Focus on Fear Drives the Political Debate, Damages our Economy, and Threatens our Health.
I was pretty excited, I thought this might be a bestseller if we got the right author. Then Joel Miller popped my balloon by replying to my email that it has already been done. There is, in fact, a book on this topic. I still think, though, that fear is driving our media.
If you think about the economic ramifications of it, it’s real easy to see why. The reason there is so much coverage on the weather and Snowmaggedon so that you will tune in to find out what the latest is. Not to be cynical, but in the TV business, it’s all about getting eyeballs, driving numbers of viewers up so that advertisers will be willing to pay more to advertise on your show. The larger your audience, the more they pay. Everything has a dramatic twist. Everything has a villain. Everything has a story arc to it that makes it as dramatic and as scary as possible.
Not surprisingly, fear is one of the dominant themes of the Bible. The reason that advertisers are able to exploit this, the reason that the news media is able to exploit this, and the reason that you and I deal with it so much as a part of our own psychology, and by the way if you don’t, you have my permission to go to sleep, or leave, or whatever, but for the rest of us who deal with fear from time to time, it is just part of what it means to live in a fallen world, so it is no surprise that the Bible speaks a lot about this.
I have just five points that I would like to make from the Bible about fear and I’ve really been just kind of preaching to myself on this topic, and hopefully it will help you, too.
Point one is, we are going to have tribulation in this world. We are not going to experience heaven this side of the real thing. The closest that we come is when we participate in the liturgy, when we see Eden recapitulated, recaptured for us there. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work for world peace and an end to poverty and all the rest, but Jesus, himself said, in John 16:33, “In the world you will have tribulation.” In a fallen world, bad things are inevitable.
I am not suggesting that we stick our heads in the sand, or that we become like Polyanna, and just put a happy face on every bad thing that happens, and act like fear is not a legitimate response in some situations. In this world, you will have tribulation.
The second point, and this one I would underscore, or put in italics: This should not be the defining characteristic of our lives. As believers in Jesus Christ, though we may have fears from time to time, it should not be the defining characteristic of our lives. Forty-nine times we are told in the Bible, “Fear not,” or “Do not fear,” from Genesis to Revelation.
Just a few representative verses:
Genesis 26:24. This was an exhortation to Jacob, who was going to have to leave because of the famine, so God said to him, “I am God, the God of your father. Do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there.” Fear of having to move. Fear of having to uproot. Fear of having to go into a foreign situation where you don’t know the language, don’t know the people, don’t know the culture, and God said, “Fear not.”
Deuteronomy 1:21. This was to Joshua as they embarked up on a very scary mission, to invade the land of Canaan, to conquer it, but up against some very scary foes. God said to Joshua, “Look, the Lord, your God, has set the land before you. Go up and possess it. As the Lord God of your fathers has spoken to you, do not fear or be discouraged.”
All of us can relate to that. We may be in a new job, new marriage, new relationship, new kids, new grandkids. I mean, there’s always something, isn’t there? If I could just, sort of like Groundhog Day, kind of keep repeating the same thing, I would get better at it. But unfortunately for most of us, it is new stuff that we have to encounter. It is new things that are scary. And we think, if we can just through this one thing, everything will settle down and we will have peace. And then, for me, at least, it’s like the dial gets turned up, the temperature rises, and the stakes get higher with each time.
I Chronicles 28:20: David is passing the throne on to his son, Solomon, and he said to him, “Be strong and of good courage and do it. Do not fear, nor be dismayed, for the Lord God, my God, will be with you.” He had given him a huge task. He had to build the temple of the Lord, in his generation. David wanted to do it, but God wouldn’t let him because he was a man of war. He said, “Your son will do it.”
It was huge task. Plus, the empire was extended at that point, to the largest point in Israel’s history. Not an easy thing to keep. David, himself, had lost it a couple of times during his reign, but he said to his son, “Do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God, my God, will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord.”
If it’s not the fear of having to take a new job, or having to find work, it is having to keep work, and that is the fear that Solomon had. Here he has been bequeathed this kingdom, and you would think, “What is there to fear, at this point?” And yet, evidently, he was fearful, or would have a tendency to fear, because his father warns him not to do that.
I love the last part of this verse. He said, “He will not leave you nor forsake you until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord.” None of us is going to lose what God has given us until God is ready for it. I am going to talk more about that in a little bit, but even the things that we lose, God has a purpose in.
Isaiah 41:10. This is one of my favorite verses, and I have actually committed it to memory. It says, “Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed (interesting that those two things seem to go together repeatedly) for I am your God, I will strengthen you. Yes I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Honestly, if God is at our side, promising to do these things, what is there to be afraid of?
Luke 12:7. Jesus said, “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear, therefore. You are of more value than many sparrows.” The point he is making there is that God cares for the least of these creatures. A sparrow is really not, in human economy, worth much. They come and go, nobody really keeps track of them, except God. Not one of them falls to the ground, Jesus said, without their heavenly Father’s knowledge. He has the hairs of our heads numbered, and therefore we don’t have to fear, because we are worth far more to him than many sparrows.
Fear should not be a central aspect of our mental focus. Nor do I think we should be purveyors of fear. Be careful. It is easy to do this. We can get our friends and our family all wound up about fears, and pass along to them a spirit of fear, and that can be disabling. Granted, there are times, such as if someone is breaking into my house, there is an appropriate place for fear. But what the Bible warns against is a spirit of fear, in which, basically, we are disabled from doing what God has called us to do. We become dismayed, discouraged, despondent, and we procrastinate doing the very things that God has called us to do. That is the kind of fear that the Bible warns against. Fear should not be the defining characteristic of our lives.
Number three: The basis of all fear is the fear of death. If you really track it down, it is really the fear of death. Paul said in Hebrews 2:14-15, “In as much, then, as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, he, himself (meaning Jesus), likewise shared in the same, (he became flesh and blood, entered into our world, knows what it is like to live here) that through death he might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetimes subject to bondage.”
So many people have this extraordinary fear of death that creates for them a kind of bondage. Think about how bizarre our culture is. We sequester death. If somebody is dying, we have places where we put them so that we don’t have to confront them in the normal activities that we engage in. If somebody is sick, we sequester them. Most funerals I have been to in my life are closed casket, just a nice little decorative box, because we don’t want to confront death, because it has an unspoken, often unacknowledged, power over us. Jesus came for the explicit purpose of trampling death, by death, and destroying it.
Metropolitan Anthony Bloom said this: “Death is the touchstone of our attitude to life. People who are afraid of death are afraid of life. It is impossible not to be afraid of life, with all of its complexity and dangers, if one is afraid of death. If we are afraid of death, we will never be prepared to take ultimate risks. We will spend our lives in a cowardly, careful, and timid manner. It is only if we can face death, make sense of it, determine its place, and our place in regard to it, that we will be able to live in a fearless way, and to the fullness of our ability.
The worst case scenario, probably for most of us, is dying, and until you can really confront that, and face it square on, you can’t really have the courage and the boldness that you need. But once we do, once we realize, “Hey, the worst that can happen here, the worst case scenario, is I die,” then we can become bold.
Look at the lives of the martyrs. They were fearless in the face of death, and that is what gave them huge boldness in preaching the gospel. Just this week I was reading in the Book of Acts, in the early chapters, where Peter was arrested for preaching the gospel. They said to him, “Look, we told you, don’t preach the gospel.” And he said, “I can’t help it. My choice is, I’m going to obey God, or I’m going to obey you, so I’m going to obey God.”
They kind of shrugged their shoulders, beat him and his colleagues, and then sent them away. And you know what they did? They kept right on preaching. They did not stop. It was the ultimate act of civil disobedience, because they didn’t fear death. They had seen the resurrection with their own eyes. They had seen that Christ had conquered death and that death had no power over men.
We’ve lost that. I think, even as Christians, we’ve lost that. We are so “this-world” focused, and preserving what we have, whether it is our stuff, or our lives, we can’t come to grips with the fact that we are going to die and that we could live boldly in this present life because Christ has transformed it into something else. It is a passageway into even more life.
Fourth point: Jesus has destroyed death by death. II Timothy 1:9-10. “God has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who has abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”
Death hasn’t gotten the memo, fully, that Christ has conquered it. The world hasn’t gotten the memo, fully. Gail was talking to me yesterday about how she was watching TV and saw this celebrity from the 1980s. I won’t say who it was, but from a distance, she looked fantastic. And then as you got up close, it was apparent that she had had all this cosmetic facial work done. Why? Because people are fearful of death, fearful of aging, fearful of the inevitable, because they have never understood that Jesus has destroyed death, by death.
This is the entire meaning of Pascha. Do you know the word Pascha literally means, “a passage,” a pathway? It is not the end. It is a means by which death is transformed, and we enter into the fullness of God’s presence.
St. Cyprian said, “What fear is there in this life to the man whose guardian in this life is God?”
St. Paul said, in Romans 8, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
So why do we let these fears dominate our thinking?
I may have mentioned this in a previous class, but as most of you know, here in our parish we lost Father Seraphim Scheidler a few weeks ago when he died, and he was young. He was in his 60s and that looks younger all the time to me. He was a wonderful, godly man, who meant the world to many of us. One of the things that we had to do, as the clergy, was to vest him. I think I did talk about that in the class.
There was a part of that, that even in my own soul, as we had to confront that as the clergy, that was difficult. I thought, “I think I can handle this,” but I was fearful. That fear was brought up in my heart. And yet, as we vested him and cared for him, and anointed him, all the fear dissipated, because I just thought to myself, “This isn’t the last word. In fact, we are vesting him, with the expectation that he will continue to serve, in a far greater way, and with much broader scope, than ever.”
That is one of the reasons why, as Orthodox Christians, we don’t believe in cremation. One reason is because we believe that people are made in the image of God, and therefore they are living icons of Christ, and so to cremate someone is no different than defacing or destroying an icon.
I was talking to a guy, a really committed Christian, this last week about this. Both his parents had been cremated, and he said, “Gosh, I’ve never even thought about that. That totally makes sense.” Our bodies are so important. It is not like, and you hear this sometimes among some Christians today, the idea that your body is just an “earth suit,” that it is just a husk that is going to be done away with, and that your true essence, your real self, is your soul, and that is what is going to live forever.
That is not a Christian idea. God made us spirit, soul, and body, St. Paul said in I Thessalonians 5, that our bodies are so important that they are going to be resurrected. Our bodies are so important that Jesus Christ, the second person in the Trinity, became flesh and dwelt among us, sanctifying matter, and so it is important.
The point is that we don’t have anything to fear in death. Jesus destroyed death, by death, and the fear of death loses its power when we willingly confront it. I think we need more familiarity with it in the Church, and I think the Orthodox Church is beautifully balanced in this. In the funeral service, we don’t just wax eloquent about what the person meant to us, as though all that is left is their memory. We sing, “Memory eternal.” This person is going to live forever, in the mind of God, and in reality, and we pray that for them, so their end doesn’t come there.
We affirm in our funeral service the reality of the resurrection. Just listen to the hymns. They are powerful. This sounds a little bit morbid, but I have listened to Father Apostolos Hill sing the funeral service, just enjoying listening to it, laying on my bed and listening to it, because it is so hopeful, so encouraging. He does some fantastic chanting on the funeral service.
All that to say about my experience going through Father Seraphim’s repose, and that is how we generally speak of death in the Orthodox Church, that he has fallen asleep, and that he will wake up. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, but his body will wake up, too. So we plant it, we bury it with great care, and with the expectation that it will be resurrected.
About this time somebody always says, but what about the people who died in a bomb, or their bodies can’t be found? That is God’s deal. I don’t know. If God created the world out of nothing, He can resurrect people. He can assemble all those molecules that have been disbursed and recreate it. I don’t know. That is His business to figure out. But for most people, we await the resurrection in the body, and we tend to really take care of the body as a result.
The fifth point is that whenever we experience fear, we need to remind ourselves that God is not the source of that fear. There is a more sinister, dark force that is at work.
II Timothy 1:7. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear.” Do you know what I am talking about? The spirit of fear? As I said, there are legitimate fears, when something happens, like our child falls and we rush to their side, or something that happens to our body that makes us go to the doctor. I’m not saying any of that is bad. Fear, I think, can be a warning system that God has instilled in us, and in the world, to get us to pay attention to certain things. What I am talking about is a spirit of fear. When it becomes the consuming or defining characteristic of your life, and you are afraid of everything, and you are constantly fearful, that is what St. Paul is saying here. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear.” That is coming from somewhere else. And it is a spiritual thing.
Notice what He has given us. “He has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Just quickly, those three things: God has given us three weapons to combat fear. First of all, power. That is interesting that he puts that first. I would have thought that He would put love first, but he doesn’t. He puts power first. I think it is because most of us in this life have a fear that we don’t have the ability, we don’t have the resources, we don’t have what we need to address the demands of life. St. Paul said that God has not given you a spirit of fear, He has given you power, He has given you the ability, He has given you the resources that you need to handle what comes your way in life.
The second of these three: Love. Maybe it is a fear that we are not going to be able to give or receive love, that some relationship that is near and dear to us is going to go away. But God has given us a spirit of love, and we are always in a position, as we saw when we talking about dealing with offenses, we are always in a position where we can make a move. We can move toward other people in love, even people that don’t like us. I have somebody in my life right now that is very difficult to love, and I have realized I can either have my feelings hurt and be offended at that, or I can actually be proactive and reach out in love, and not be afraid of what this person could do to me.
Interestingly, the third thing: He said that God has given us a sound mind. We fear maybe we don’t have the self control or the discipline to obey God’s commandments, or that maybe we are just going to go crazy. I have had times in my life where I have thought, “Man, I cannot handle this. I just don’t feel like emotionally or mentally I can handle this.” But God has given us a sound mind. This is, interestingly, the only time in the entire Bible that this word from the Greek is used, and it does mean moderation, or self control. If you feel like you are losing it—no. God has given us a sound mind. We don’t have to merely react to what life brings our way. We can proactively choose. We can decide. We can obey God.
If God has not given us this spirit of fear, where does it come from? I Peter 5:8. “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary, the devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” As somebody has pointed out, he is like a lion without any teeth. That is about all he can do, is to roar. And it is scary, and it makes you want to abandon your position. But in my own experience, about 95% of the bad things that I think are going to happen, don’t happen, and if they do happen, they are not as bad as I thought they would be, and if I would just stand still, like God told Moses at the edge of the Red Sea, God will deliver me, not always out of it, sometimes through it.
But that is Satan’s strategy, to roar, to scare us, and to get us to voluntarily abandon our position, because he doesn’t have any real power over us. That has been defeated at the cross. All he can get us to do is to agree with him and believe his lies and just say, “Okay, I guess the game’s over, I’m walking off the field.” No! “Stand, therefore,” St. Paul said in Ephesians 6. “Having done all that you can do to stand, stand.” Then he talks about putting on the full armor of God, which is another lesson.
These three points, just in application—what to do when you are afraid:
First, remember, God is in control, Romans 8:28. Sam Moore, my previous boss, the CEO of Thomas Nelson, when I would bring him bad news, would say, “Well, Mike, is Romans 8:28 still in the Bible?” That verse, if you don’t know it, says, “For God causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”
Nothing happens outside the supervising scope of God’s providence. Even the bad things, He allows. That’s a hard word for a lot of people, particularly people who have gone through very difficult things, but again, I point back to Joseph. We have used his example many times in these classes. Severe abuse by his brothers, sold into slavery, falsely accused, thrown into prison twice, innumerable things, and yet he could say to his brothers who caused it all, really, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.”
God’s intention toward us is always good, and nothing is going to happen to you, or to me, that God is not going to redeem and use for His glory. So remember, God is in control.
The second thing is, if you have to, go on a media fast. Turn the news off, or at least, if you are going to watch it, or read it, know what the game is. There is just a driving force for them to amp it up, hype it up, and to scare you, to create more drama than is really there. You just have to be aware of it. Sometimes I have said to myself in the past, “You know what? I’m not going to watch the news for the next 30 days.” Or during Lent, we have that coming up. You know, if something is really important, somebody is going to tell you. If California does end up falling into the ocean, somebody is probably going to tell you. You don’t need to know that now. (laughter) It can wait. Go on a media fast.
The third thing is, just pray. Memorize this verse: Philippians 4:6. “Be anxious for nothing.” Well, how about just a few things? No. “Be anxious for nothing,” St. Paul said. Well, what do you do? That’s like telling somebody, “Hey, don’t think of pink elephants.” What happens? You can’t think of anything but pink elephants, so be anxious for nothing makes me anxious just thinking about it.
St. Paul continued, “But in everything…” But‐that little conjunction is important. Instead of being anxious for everything, try this. “But in everything, by prayer and supplication,” and notice this, “with thanksgiving…” That is hard when you are in the middle of something that is making you anxious, to be thankful, but it is the antidote to fear.
That is why it is so great to be here on a Sunday morning and participate in the Eucharist, because it gives you perspective, doesn’t it? I am never more certain of where I am in God’s economy and what the whole thing is all about than when I am standing at the altar in the liturgy, and I am reminded again, “Oh yeah, this is the story.” Somehow I lost the plot. I got caught up in some little side story, some little drama that wasn’t really worth of all my attention, and I lost the big picture. That is the great thing about being in the liturgy, week after week. It reorients our thinking and our perspective.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication,” and sometimes, especially when you first start, you don’t feel less anxious, but you do it in obedience. I think that is a key insight for us, as Christians, that we don’t let our faith follow our feelings—that is a recipe for disaster. We let our feelings follow our faith. We exercise obedience, trusting in God that the feelings will follow. That is true in our marriages, when we exert love toward our spouse or our kids when we want to kill them, and instead we decide to be loving, trusting that the feeling is going to come.
We have to obey. Don’t ever get that out of order, it just doesn’t work. If you are feeling anxious, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God.
I like the way King David said, “Cast your burdens upon the Lord (Psalm 55).” You weren’t made to bear those things, and you don’t have to bear them. You can cast them upon the Lord.