Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39 NIV
I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. Luke 12:4 NIV
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
Luke 12:25-26 NIV
Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 4: 33-34 NIV
When I was in high school, I spent entirely too much time dreaming, planning, even scheming about my future. I found my present so distasteful and often wished I could go to sleep and wake up 10 years later. Alex Walton said in a previous sermon that, “we fill our imagined future with continual threats of impending doom or with perpetual dreams of unending success.” Rarely does our present situation or our future correspond to how we have imagined them. Can we control our future? Does worrying about it lessen our anxiety about the future at all?
Perhaps – instead of worrying about the future, we could try a little exercise. Think about the worst thing that could possibly happen to you in the future. It could be – losing a job, experiencing divorce, having a child with a disability, losing a spouse or another loved one, having to live miles away from friends or family, or something else? Once you have thought of what your own “worst-case scenario” in the future could be, then ask yourself, “if that thing actually occurred, would I still be alright? Would I be able to be content in that situation, if I was still sure of God’s love, of His presence, of His continued direction and involvement in my life?”
If you are not sure of how to answer that question for yourself, I suggest you look at one or more of these people’s lives, and how they were able to experience God’s presence and provision – even in the midst of their “worst-case scenarios” – Joni Eareckson Tada, Corrie Ten Boom or Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Joni has been a quadriplegic for over 50 years, Corrie Ten Boom survived living in a Nazi concentration camp, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer was persecuted, imprisoned and eventually martyred by the Nazis. All 3 of these Christians knew God’s presence in the midst of their darkest hour – when everything they had hoped and dreamed could have come true – but had been stripped away from them.
Read the above scriptures. Ask yourself, “where is my treasure? What have I placed my hope in? Would I be ok, if all I had was God’s presence, God’s assurance of His love?” If the answer is yes, then worrying about the future can simply fade away; it will no longer consume our thoughts, because we will have an eternal perspective of the future.