Wars. Violence. Terrorism. Hatred. Divisions. Natural disasters. School shootings. Crime. Unemployment. Persecution. Political extremism. Broken homes. Economic uncertainty. Disease. Death…Facebook debates! YIKES! What a wonderful world.
What if I’m not good enough? What if I fail that test? What if she says, “no.” What if the plane crashes? What if I lose my job? What if he leaves me? What if my adult child continues making destructive life choices? What if I get cancer; what will my family do without me?
“What if” is a cruel master. What “what ifs” are you currently torturing your mind with today?
We fear for the future for our children and our grandchildren; we fear for our financial future; we fear for our safety and those we love. We fear for our country. We fear sickness and death.
How many of us are guilty of having such fears about our lives, our families and the world we live in today?
Yet, how many of these fearful outcomes transpire? Very few…if any…and even those that do are almost never to the extreme we have created them to be in our minds.
Oh, to have back those long, sleepless nights of worry and despair over something that never happened.
So, what do we do about our fears, pastor?
Well, quite simply: Christ is the answer. Turn to the word. Read the words of truth — of life — of hope.
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” — Psalm 56:3
“So, do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” — Isaiah 41:10
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guide your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 4:6-7
(See also John 14:27; 2 Timothy 1:7; 1 John 4:18; Psalm 94:19; Isaiah 43:1; Proverbs 12:25; Psalm 23:4; Joshua 1:9; Matthew 6:34; 1 Peter 5:6-7; Isaiah 35:4; Luke 12:22-26; Psalm 27:1; Psalm 55:22; Mark 6:50; Deuteronomy 31:6; Isaiah 41:13-14; Psalm 46:1; Psalm 118:6-7; Proverbs 29:25; Mark 4:39-40; Psalm 34:7; 1 Peter 3:14; Psalm 34:4; Deuteronomy 3:22; Revelation 1:17; Mark 5:36; Romans 8:38-39; Zephaniah 3:17; and Psalm 91:1-16)
Meditate on these words. Let them soak into your soul. There is no magic in words, but there is power in the word of God. Pray these verses, and change will happen. Anxious thoughts will turn to thoughts of hope. Worry will lose its grip and we will no longer be paralyzed and powerless. These “life” words will soothe the soul, calm the spirit and give power to persevere.
Fear is a choice. We can choose to not let fear and anxiety control our lives; we can, instead, choose to focus our minds on what is true — the word of God.
We might still be afraid, but we can believe that God walks with us. We may not be in control of our circumstances, but we can trust that God is in control. We may not know the future, but we can know that God does.
All that stuff on your mind? Give it to Jesus. Replace those fearful thoughts with the word of God.
“Do not fear,” and sleep in peace tonight.
Envoy Gary Dobney is with the The Salvation Army in Sheridan.