In the book of Jeremiah, the people of God had been captured by King Nebuchadnezzar and taken into captivity to Babylon. In their eyes, their future looked bleak and scary. They had no idea if they would ever get to go back home or what would happen to them while they were in Babylon. Would families be split up? Would they be abused and tortured? Would they be slaves?
Jeremiah, himself, was still back in Jerusalem when he wrote chapter 29. It is a letter encouraging the people with the truth that God will rescue them and, though it may not seem like it at the moment, God knows what He is doing. And His plans are always best.
As we begin our study on fear and anxiety, we could make a long list of things that make us fearful and bring on anxiety. One of those things is wrapped up in our thoughts on the future. Maybe you feel that your future looks bleak. You may look at what is going on and feel hopeless that things will change. You may think about your retirement years, putting kids through college, the future of your marriage or simply making it through this week, only to have to do it all over again next week. How we think about the future, whether that is tomorrow or 20 years from now, can bring on fear and anxiety.
How do we change our perspective on the future in a way that helps us find rest in the Lord?
We need to know God
Through all of Scripture God shows us who He is, what He is like and what He does. He tells us that He is all-powerful, meaning He can do things that we can never do on our own. He is loving and kind, meaning He cannot be cruel or mean. He is faithful, meaning He can’t go back on His word or forsake His people. He is gracious, meaning He is filled with compassion, care, and sympathy for His people. And He has a plan.
His plan is a comfort for His people because not only is His plan perfect because God is perfect, but God knows the best way to orchestrate all things so that His plan will come to fruition. Knowing God calms the anxious heart.
We need to believe God
Knowing God is not enough to begin to banish our fears about our future. We have to also believe the things God says. We need to have faith that while we cannot see what is going on, God does see all things. While we cannot control much, God controls all. While we may be confused and need wisdom, God is never confused and holds all wisdom, which He uses to execute His plans. And while our future can feel like it is constantly changing, unpredictable and unsteady, our God is an immovable rock, and in Him our lives, and especially our future, are stable and secure.
The plans He has for our lives may not be easy. It may involve hardship, and the unknown may be a little scary, but we should not live in fear. We need to remind ourselves that we have a God on our side who has made the sun stand still, who has fed His people with miraculous bread for 40 years, and who sacrificed Himself in order to save a people whose future is brighter than we can ever imagine.
Our perspective of the future changes when we know God and believe what He says, and this will destroy fear.
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.
Looking To Jesus,
WEEK 1 Challenge:
- Make a list of all the things that you fear about the future, whether that is tomorrow or 20 years from now.
- What truths about God are you struggling to believe in those fears? Ask the Lord to strengthen your faith in those areas.
Week 1 Reading Plan
Week 1 Memory Verse
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