Before acting in fear, turn first to divinity
Life for us here in northwest Colorado has had more than its share of opportunities to give in to fear and panic.
COVID – 19, ‘nuff said.
Unwarranted and specious attacks on the industries that provide livelihoods for most of our community, either directly or indirectly; leading to the fear of not just job losses but the loss of entire industries in our area.
Declining revenues for all of our local governmental agencies, continued drug and alcohol abuse above even the already high national average, and the corresponding consequences associated with substance abuse.
Mental illness and the lack of services for those suffering.
In Moffat County we have adolescents in the “system” at a rate 5 to 6 times higher than Routt or Grand Counties. All these realities help to create a fear of the future and often produce anxiety.
Many are forecasting for the fall of 2021 (or soon after) more serious natural disasters, market crashes (say, housing market anyone?) and the end of the dollar as a viable currency.
Some have terminal illnesses that overshadow any of these aforementioned circumstances of life.
What are we to do?
A Catholic priest friend of mine said something to me several years ago that has helped me to guard against and manage my fear and anxiety.
“The Ifs of life breed FEAR… which open the door of TEMPTATION… and left unchecked often result SIN… we need to bring Jesus into the IFS”
His point is that we often do not turn to God until after we have acted out in thought word or deed because of our fear and anxiety, and that we should turn to Jesus earlier in the process of downward spiral that fear often produces.
So, how do we bring Jesus into the ifs of life – the uncertainty? The Apostle Paul in his letter to the church at Philippi gives us some good ideas.
Philippians 4:6-8: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. (NASB)
Pray – seek God, worship Him and learn to rest in His presence.
Ask – it’s always right to ask God to give you what you need to endure hardship
Be thankful – in everything
“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good,” Maya Angelou said.
Think – dwell on good and wholesome thoughts. We are constantly moving in the direction of our most dominant thoughts.
Experience the resulting Peace, which transcends understanding
And Jesus weighs in also.
John 16:33: I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. (ESV)
Pastor Len Browning, The Journey at First Baptist
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