I had originally planned to write an optimistic blog about the New Year and how we can make the most out of the blank canvas that we call 2020.
But things have changed. Quickly. Events in the middle east have taken a turn since last Friday that few, if any of us saw coming. More U.S. troops are being deployed. People on both sides are using war language. It is certain that the assassination of Iranian Maj. General Qassem Soleimani has changed what 2020 would have been into something else and that it will not be the final act in this drama being played out in real time.
We are Living in Fearful Times. No one knows where or how this will end – not even the decision makers.
And we don’t know how the events that will certainly play out in 2020 will affect each of our lives. While most of us live far from the Middle East and probably far from any direct impact of retaliatory actions, there is the possibility that our personal worlds will be affected. The times are far from certain.
So how are we to live in uncertain times? How are we to face fearful days?
Without question there are some specific things that each of us can do to prepare our families, and I’m sure that we will soon be inundated with advice telling us how to get ready for Armageddon. Some of the advice will undoubtedly be practical and useful and some will be over the top and simply engender more fear.
But what do we tell our children about these days? What do we tell ourselves? How do we handle an unknown future that appears threatening?
The Bible is clear that as Christians we are not to live in fear (2 Timothy 1:7). So what are we to do?
The answer is not difficult – we are to live in the reality that God is ultimately in control of our world (Isaiah 14:24, 46:10, Daniel 4:35, Luke 12:22-32, Ephesians 1:11). Even though bad things happen – and we have no guarantee that we won’t be affected by them, we are to reaffirm that God is the One in control, not those men who sit with their fingers on the red button.
Beyond that we know that this God who is in control is a God of great mercy (Ephesians 2:4) and that His grace is sufficient for our journey (2 Corinthians 12:9). And so we trust Him (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Even when we don’t understand His ways. Even when we can’t reconcile what’s happening in our world with His mercy and grace. Even when fear grips our hearts. Even then we trust Him.
None of us knows what will happen in 2020 – but He does. And that is enough.
So we live in faith not in fear. That is the choice for all of us – faith or fear.
No matter what happens in this New Year, God does not want you to live in fear. He wants you to trust Him and live in faith.
When you feel fear creeping in, get alone in a quiet place with God and tell Him again that you’re going to trust Him regardless of the chaos around you. And keep telling Him, not because He needs to hear it over and over, but because you need to confess it until your heart believes it.
You can live in peace in a fearful world.
Stay in the Word