Stress is no fun. JVJ didn’t really have a choice whether or not to go through the stress. He didn’t have a choice not to feel anxiety. But he stayed with the struggle and ultimately chose the path of humility. And he was changed more than just the color of his hair. His first event being a brush with the bishop sent him first into a stupor and then into a life of good works. His second event now has baptized him into a determined life of new single-minded purpose. His last moments with Fantine cement the direction. Perhaps this explains why he appears to renege on his confession: he was transformed in his person and purpose, a reality disjointed with an external linear viewpoint.
I am experiencing heavy stress myself. Even though the danger that threatens will probably not get me into trouble personally, I find myself engaged with a personal battle against my ego. The temptation in the stress is to make sure that people around me are aware of what I am going through so that they can either tell me that it will be OK or give me some relief from the worry and work of the matter. Really it just comes down to my ego seeking relief from the stress in the way that brings me the soonest with the most comfort. The discipline of holding my tongue from the temptation to subtly manipulate of others is what I need. The stress looms large in my world, but it must not take over the present matter of listening to and caring for others in the details of this very second.
Love in action can only be found in the present moment. Otherwise, its only an anesthetic theory.
I suppose this is why Jesus could command us to not be anxious: because the command was in the context of his command to live each day fully. This day and this detail are all that matter for now.