What are you looking forward to? Are you looking forward to Friday? Does the prospect of another work week seem gloomy to you? With Monday once again at our doorstep, it’s hard to get into the Spirit with the anticipation of another week of work before us.

Maybe you are looking forward to retirement, carefully putting money away every paycheck so you will have money to finally do the things you want to do, to travel, to write that book, or something else you’ve been dreaming of.

It’s dreams like these that motivate us, give us hope for a better day tomorrow. Honestly the doom and gloom predictions about our economy and the climate aren’t in the same vein when I think about my own future. And maybe they ought to be. For on the one hand I get dire predictions about the power grid and terrorism and a great need to prepare for disaster. On the other hand I get advice about how to save money for the future so that I can retire in comfort. Last night I learned about Living Trusts, an alternative to the Will that I could form for my family to protect my assets when I die.

Well, there’s another thing I need to be ready for. Death is the most certain scenario of all. The Bible tells me how I need to live today to prepare for death tomorrow. It felt creepy writing that statement. I don’t like to think about my own death, even though I know it’s coming, and I know that it will be the most glorious part of my life. I don’t know that I have tomorrow, so I need to prepare today.

Well, all of that to say this. What gives me peace about the scary unknown future is the verse above. He will be. I know Him. And He is already my King. I have advance tickets to the greatest show in the universe. All of this other stuff is just set dressing. The main event is coming and I already know I have good seats. It is this motivation that moves me from Monday to Monday. Christ in you, the hope of glory.

God bless you on this Monday and every day.

Anxiety Nation

I’m not sure why we are so anxious, but we are. Easily half of the people I talk to, and that includes myself, feel some form of anxiety. It may be anxiety about work, about family, about health, or how that person over there is looking at me strangely. Anxiety doesn’t need a logical basis to exist. It can exist simply because we are not anxious, and probably ought to be. Anxiety is the reason for prescribed or over the counter medication, probably more than anything else, as many stomach and headache issues can be attributed to it.

The Scripture today acknowledges this reality. Anxiety is a real thing, and even the wisest Solomon understood it. He understood its effect on the human heart (or psyche), in that it is “weighed down”, which easily translates to “feeling down”. Anxiety robs our joy, steals our contentment, and makes foolish our faith. That’s right. If you worry, your faith isn’t operating as it should.

“I believe in God, but . . . ” Really? You believe in God’s providential care? You believe that God has prepared the way and the circumstances you are experiencing right now? You believe that God truly loves you and only wants what’s best for you? You truly believe there is nothing to fear because there is no fear in love? You believe that? “Perfect love casts out fear … and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” (1 John 4:18) And there it is. Anxiety is fear, sometimes paralyzing fear. We fear for the future. We fear that we won’t have enough money to make rent or groceries. We fear that our needs will not be met. Fear is a sign of immature faith. If our love is not perfect, or mature, then we will feel anxiety about God’s ability to care for us.

Now I won’t sit here on a high horse and tell you I’m perfect. Far from it. I still feel fear and anxiety. The Bible clearly says even believers still feel fear. But these two things, fear and faith, are at war in our heart, and are frequently tested. It is maturity to weather these tests and grow in our faith. Remember that to grow in our faith, the tests must be harder. But we have this confidence: the God who brought us through the last test will bring us through this one.

By the same token, we can offer and ought to offer encouragement to others who growing. A kind word, a helpful encouragement, a joy shared can all be helpful for those in anxiety. As believers, it is our responsibility to share the lessons we have learned. When God brought you through that horrible health problem, or financial burden, or relationship, you have the responsibility to share that with others going through the same thing now. Everyone’s pain is unique, but if you can share your trial overcome through faith in God’s provision, that can offer hope to someone lost in anxiety. I might say that this hope is the one sure antidote to anxiety. Anxiety says, “all is lost.” Hope says, “the best is yet to come.”

If you are going through anxiety, may I offer hope that God is not done with you? May your eyes be open today to others going through tough times, that you may offer them hope in the love of God who eagerly desires to provide for them and satisfy their needs, just as He does for you.

God bless you today.