Anxiety and the coronavirus: How to interrupt the downward spiral

Max Lucado offers five steps to interrupt the downward spiral of anxiety about the coronavirus and offer it up to God. Nothing is too big for Him!

Are you struggling with anxiety during these difficult times? Max Lucado offers five steps to interrupt that downward spiral and offer your anxiety about the coronavirus up to God. Nothing is too big for Him!

*     *     *

Anxiety is an out-of-control thought pattern. It settles over the mind like a severe weather system, spewing thunderclouds and casting lightning bolts. Life feels like an airplane in a tailspin. It feeds on what-ifs and worst-case scenarios.

What if the coronavirus changes my life forever? How long until there’s a vaccine? Until the economy recovers? I could lose my health. I could lose my job. I could lose it all.

Down. Down. Down. Don’t give in to this thought pattern. It’s a sinkhole. Don’t catastrophize your way into quicksand. Take a deep breath and then …

1. Pray about it.

At the first hint of an anxious thought, take the thought captive. Don’t tolerate the devil, not even for a second. Lasso the anxious thought with a word of prayer. Lord, there is an intruder at the door. Please take over!

2. Identify the culprit.

Generalities are not permitted. None of this: “I’m worried.” Get specific: Lord, I’m worried about the layoffs at work. Now, that’s better. But even more detailed: I’m worried that I will lose my job. Will I be able to find more work? Will we have to move? Specificity disarms anxiety.

3. Take a reality check.

Is this a legitimate concern? Or is this a vague, ill-defined, rumor-fed possibility? They say layoffs are inevitable. Who are they?

4. Take an action step.

Assuming the concern is legitimate, what can you do? Make a list of two or three steps you can take to resist the urge to try to solve everything immediately.

5. Ask: “Can God solve this?”

Is this challenge within His skill set? Is He overwhelmed by this setback? Are the angels pounding on the door of heaven trying to convince Him to come out of hiding? Is He resisting? I can’t handle this challenge. It is too great. I don’t know what to do! I’m stumped, stuck, and stalled out.

No … I don’t think so either. God is never baffled or belittled. Take the problem to Him.

Reflect on this verse: “No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me, declares the Lord” (Isaiah 54:17, NIV).

And, pray it through:


Thank You that “before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely” (Psalm 139:4, NIV). Thank You that there are no surprises with You. Help me find deep comfort in the fact that You are unshockable and nothing is too great, too terrible, too large, or too heavy for You. Help me see the problems that I face today in light of how big You are. Amen.

© Max Lucado (adapted from Anxious for Nothing, Thomas Nelson, 2017). This post was originally published at maxlucado.com.

As the coronavirus continues to spread across the country and the world, we turn to God for wisdom and comfort. Join us in prayer for people affected by this crisis.

The coronavirus pandemic can be troubling for adults, but especially scary for children. Here are some tips for talking to your kids about the coronavirus.

Amid crisis, there is hope. Read how World Vision Family Emergency Kits are bringing hope to food-insecure families across the U.S.


View All Stories
A woman in Somalia holds her baby amid canvas tents, her pink hijab billowing from a gust of wind.
From the Field

In photos: 23 moments to remember

A young girls smiles at a classroom desk with her hand rested on her pink cowboy hat.
From the Field

In photos: 22 memorable moments from 2022