A young Christian friend of mine in her early twenties recently confided to me that she’s deeply concerned about the future. “As a Christian, I know I shouldn’t be anxious,” she said, “and I feel guilty that I am. But with all the horrible things that happen in the world, I wonder how much longer I’ll live a normal life. Will the world even exist by the time I ‘m ready to marry?“
I can tell you, my friend is not alone in her concern. Across our nation and throughout the world, people of all ages, including Christians, are doubtful and uncertain about the future. Perhaps you are one of them.
As you know Christ commands you not to worry about tomorrow, but you have difficulty to obeying that command. What can we do? What factors deprive us of hope.
a. World Events: Wherever we turn, it seems, news report bombard us with terrifying accounts of disaster, destruction, and death. Wars and rumors of wars so overwhelm us that we find ourselves growing cynical about what lies ahead. In this age of technological advancement, our causes for fear seemingly loom larger than ever. Pondering this reality fills us with uneasiness and dread.
b. Personal problems: Not only do world events trouble us. So do personal disappointments. After nearly 25 years of climbing the corporate ladder, Steve, a family friend, lost his job. At age 58, with two children in college, Steve discovered that his ladder was learning against the wrong wall. Shattered and defeated, he struggled with bouts of severe depression. After renewing his hope in Christ, however, Steve found another Job. See you too might be going through such an experience, like Steve, have lost your job or are facing financial challenges. Maybe health problems or poor family relationships are eroding your confidence. Whatever the case, personal problems can definitely rob you of hope for a better future.
c. Your Thought Life: What you think about becomes a visible part of you. Our thoughts are directly the result of what we put into our minds. If we develop a negative way of looking at the world, personal problems will overwhelm us and taint our outlook on the future. The Bible tells us that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he (Prov.23:7). So, if you continually sow thoughts of hopelessness in your heart, you will reap a crop of despair. If, on the other hand, you sow thoughts of hope we will eventually reap a harvest of hope. What kind of thoughts are you sowing?
d. Loss of focus on Christ: Remember fear and anxiety about the future result when we take our eyes off of the Lord, the One who holds the future. Consider the biblical example of Peter (Matt. 14:25-33). When he stepped from the boat onto the water, his eyes were focused on Jesus. The instant Peter took his eyes off Jesus and put them on his surroundings, he became filled with fear and began to sink.
The same thing happens to us when we focus on our surrounding instead of God’s Word. When we allow our view of the future to be controlled by circumstances instead of God’s Word, we exalt our circumstances above God. Thus, we commit idolatry, placing greater trust in temporal concerns than in God. Do you place more trust in the world’s word or in God’s Word?
e. Lack of spiritual Discipline: Unless we feed continually on the Scriptures, we cannot develop a strong sense of confidence in the future. The Bible declares that God will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast (Isa. 26:3). When our minds are anchored in God, we can experience peace amid every storm, knowing that God intends to bless and not harm us, to give us hope and bright future (Jer. 29:11).
f. Your comfort zone: It may seem strange as many Christians actually want to hold on to their fear of the future. Like a security blanket, it has become so much a part of daily life that they think they can’t function without it. After all, how can we call ourselves responsible if we don’t worry about the future? See, there is a big difference between worry and responsibility. To worry about the future is to focus solely on our own strength to handle what lies ahead. To be responsible is to prepare for the future in reliance on God’s strength.
Let me give you a classic example of this dichotomy and it is taken out from the biblical account of the two sisters, Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42). Martha was the worrier, the burden bearer, the one who put the cares of this world above the care of her soul. Jesus Christ described her as someone who worried and became upset about all sorts of things (Luke 10:41). Mary, on the other hand, had different priorities. She realized that the most important thing she could do was to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to Him. Mary knew that if she filled her heart with God’s Word, she could make it through anything. She differed from Maratha, who relied on her own strength. Jesus said Mary had chosen the better way and that its blessings would not be taken away from her (Luke 10:42).
So what are the cures for worry? As we have looked at some hope-stealers, let us consider some reasons why we as Christians can be not only confident as we face the future, but joyful as well.
Cure#1: God has everything under control-He is the Lord and there is none else (Isa. 45:18). AS the Creator of the universe and everything in it, God knows the beginning and end. Nothing can happen to us without His permission. No matter what life may bring, we can rest secure in the knowledge that God knows our needs and that He will meet them.
Cure#2: God is faithful-He does exactly what He says He will do (Ezek. 12:25). When God promises that His words will come to pass, He means it. It doesn’t matter what the situation looks like from a human standpoint. When my nephew was diagnosed with Blood cancer. Upon hearing the doctor’s report, we were all assailed by fear. But during those times we chose to resist the attack by focusing on God’s Word, which promises that all things work together for good (Rom. 8:28). After 4 years of intense treatment my nephew is totally healthy 9 year old enjoying the best moments of his life. God truly is faithful!
Cure#3: God is love-Everything He does is motivated by love. As our Father, He is intimately involved in the lives of His children. He has even numbered the hairs of our heads (Matt. 10:30). Because God is love, we can trust that He will take care of us.
Cure #4: God is the God of Hope-There can be no hope without God, for all hope is rooted in Him. By its very nature, hope looks to the future. As Christians, our hope is in Jesus Christ and in His promise of eternal life. My Dad purchased a lapel button that read, “just visiting.” That’s the attitude we should take about our stay on this sinful morbid world. This is not our final destination. We know that a far better life awaits us beyond this one. When we learn to focus on that future life, we can keep the problems of this earthly life in proper perspective, confident in the knowledge that all things do work together for good to them that love God.
Hope is the anchor of the soul (Heb. 6:19). Without it, we cannot fight the good fight of faith nor keep the faith. In order to remain confident as we face the future, we must hold on to the hope set before us, namely Jesus Christ and the salvation He has provided. That’s all we need. The battle is already won.
Therefore, my dear loved ones, rejoice as you face the future. The best is yet to come.