In the book of Jeremiah, we read about how the people of God had been captured by King Nebuchadnezzar and taken into captivity in 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, the prophet, was still in Jerusalem when he wrote this section of the book. In chapter 29 we find a letter encouraging the people who were in exile with the truth that God will rescue them and, though it did not seem like it at the moment, God knew what He was doing. 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 of the future. Maybe you feel 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 twenty 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; He can do things that we can never do on our own. He is loving and kind; He cannot be cruel or mean. He is faithful; He can’t go back on His word or forsake His people. He is gracious; He is filled with compassion, care, and sympathy for His people.
He has a plan. His plan is to comfort His people because, not only is His plan perfect because He is perfect, but He knows the best way to orchestrate all things so 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 changing, unpredictable, and unsteady, our God is an immovable rock. In Him our lives, and especially our futures, are stable and secure.
The plans He has for our lives may not be easy. It may involve hardship, and the unknown can be 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 forty years, and who sacrificed Himself to save His people. Our future is brighter than we can ever imagine.
Our perspective of the future changes when we know God and believe what He says. 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 twenty years from now.
- What truths about God are you struggling to believe related to these fears? Ask the Lord to strengthen your faith in those areas.
Week 1 Memory Verse
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