Why are you afraid?
A recent poll shows that in the wake of this week’s crisis in the House of Commons, 72% of Canadians are very concerned about the future of our country. The ongoing slide in financial markets, coupled with this week’s news about job losses, has people worried about the economy as well.
The problems are real enough. People worry because they feel helpless to change these situations that affect their lives. And the truth is that indeed, we don’t have all that much control over either our government or the economy – so from one perspective it makes sense to worry, right ?
Wrong. The reality is that worrying solves nothing – it only paralyzes us into inaction.
One day Jesus’ disciples were out on Lake Galilee in a fishing boat and a storm came up. They were terrified of drowning, and woke Jesus up, begging Him to save them. Why was he sleeping? Didn’t he care? Jesus immediately commanded the storm to cease, and peace returned to the frightened men in the little boat. But he had no words of apology for sleeping during the storm. Instead, he challenged them with these words: “Why were you afraid, O you of little faith?”
While many things are beyond our control, each of us has the freedom to make some choices that do affect our lives and the world around us. Each of us has a measure of authority in a certain sphere that God assigns to us. At a minimum, we all have authority over our own spirit, our own thought life, our own emotions, our own responses to the people in our lives and the things that happen around us, our use of time and money. When we allow ourselves to be ruled by worry and anxiety, we surrender our authority to the Devil and become unable to act in faith, unable to take any positive action, unable to make wise choices. All we can see is disaster on the horizon; so we either do nothing, or make poor choices that only make things worse.
So what’s the solution? How do you get rid of worry? The Bible says we get rid of worry by turning our worries over to God. We need to recognize that worry is actually one of the Enemy’s weapons which he uses against us. The Apostle Paul tells us to use faith as a shield against these negative thoughts that are aimed at us to bring us down.
I know what I’m talking about; I am someone who used to carry a heavy load of worry and anxiety. I no longer do. The change wasn’t instantaneous; it came over many years, as I learned to consciously replace thoughts of fear with thoughts of faith. One of the most powerful weapons in this fight is the spoken Word of God. I often speak God’s promises over my own life to encourage myself. I do it because it works!
Aren’t the problems real ? Sure they are – and speaking God’s promises doesn’t make them go away. But it does put them in perspective. When worries rise up to attack the fortress of my thought life, I put them down with God’s words of truth, and peace returns to my heart and mind. I am then free to see the landscape around me as it really is, and receive God’s guidance as to the best course of action. And He does give practical wisdom – if my mind is free to receive it. Some things I can control; some I can’t. I need to recognize which situations I can influence, focus on those, and leave the rest in God’s hands – in peace, without fear. Long ago King David wrote that God guides the steps of those who trust in Him. I’ve found that to be a true and reliable promise. Will there be problems? Sure, but I don’t have to face them alone. God is with me. He’ll be with you too, if you choose to trust Him.