Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Fear of the Future

I was talking to a friend a few months ago, and I was surprised to discover that he was actually afraid of the future at times. I was only surprised because I suffered from that same fear (and still do, sometimes) not very long ago.

I meant to post this sooner, but I actually forgot all about it. Sorry! I don't know how many others out there are afraid of the future, but for those who are, I hope this is helpful in some small way.

My fear of the future consisted of being worried whenever I'd hear someone reading in the book of Revelation. I didn't like hearing about the antichrist, or verses where it talked about anything bad happening to the church. I got worried when I thought about what might happen in the future. Because I like to know what's going to happen. And I don't know what's going to happen in the future.

It got so bad that I'd purposefully try not to think about the future. If I heard someone talking about it, I'd purposefully try not to listen because I didn't want to hear about it and be scared. I didn't think of it as a 'fear' as such, just something I didn't like to think about.

Until I realized it was a full-blown fear. I'd blown it way out of proportion. Sure, some uncomfortable things may end up happening to me, and sure, I might not like them very much, but the truth of the matter is that God is in control, whatever happens. And I can trust Him. It sounds so easy and simple, and it's difficult to believe because we like to have our fingers in every pie, so to speak. We like to have our futures under our control.

And something we have to accept is that our future is not in our control. If we have a fear about the future, the only way we will be delivered from the fear is to speak the truth. And the truth in this situation is that God is in control. We have to accept that He's in charge. We have to give him the reigns and say, "Lord, I have a fear of my future. I'm struggling to trust you and I'm struggling to trust that you have a good plan for my future. I'm struggling to accept everything you have planned for me.  But I want to trust you. Help me to trust you and give me a peace that whatever happens comes from you. Replace all my wrong thoughts with the truth. I choose to believe in the truth of your word no matter what my mind tells me. I love you and know that you have a good plan for my life. Amen."

You might not feel very confident after praying that prayer. But you'll need to consciously pray something along those lines every time you experience fear or doubt about the future. Every time you face fear, pray, give the fear to God, and leave it with him. He can handle it. And then eventually, when you think of it, you'll feel peace, because you'll know he's in charge.

Something I did when I had fear of the future is to write up a whole lot of inspiring verses about not being afraid, and having peace through trusting Jesus. Then I'd go back through the list of verses (I have them sitting here in front of me, actually) and read them aloud, declaring the promises of Jesus. That helped me not feel so fearful. My list is like three whole pages long.

Maybe doing something like that will help for you. Here are five or six of my very favourite 'do not fear' verses, copied straight off the list in front of me.

Psalm 3:4
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.

Exodus 14:13-14
Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.

Deut 31:6
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you, he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Psalm 27:1-3
The Lord is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life - of whom shall I be afraid? When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.

Daniel 10:19
"Do not be afraid, O man highly esteemed," he said. "Peace! Be strong now; be strong."

Isaiah 43:1-3
Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

Isaiah 26:3
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts you.

In summary, here's my list of things I recommend to do when you feel fear for the future (or any fear of anything at all, for that matter!)

  • Pray, give your fear to the Lord, and ask Him to fill you with His peace.
  • Go into Scripture. Read over your list of encouraging and inspiring verses for situations like this.
  • Believe the truth. Don't tell yourself that the future is scary, because it isn't. I heard somewhere that worry is fear of the future without God in it.
  • Know that others before you have struggled with this. I have, and still do, sometimes.
  • Remember that  no matter what happens, God's in charge, and he will never let you down.
  • Put a smile on your face and go to meet your fears with the confidence that God's sovereignty brings!

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And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”Colossians 3:17 (NIV)