Right now in the United States there’s an election of which many fear the consequences of the outcome on every side. And just to live in the real world, with the possible and actual problems we face day after day and beyond can instill within us a sense of foreboding, I mean something like a fear that comes from dread. Maybe our first experience of that was as a child at the doctor before a required shot, usually in those days at least, in the hip. I can still feel the pain. Such a dread comes from the experience that not all is pleasant, in fact some things we run up against and experience in life are downright painful.
Trouble in this life is inevitable, as scripture itself says. For all sorts of reasons. So that there’s a kind of fear that is actually healthy. Jesus didn’t tell his followers to stay put when under severe (and real) persecution, but to flee (Matthew 10:23). We need wisdom from God to carefully navigate the responsibilities put before us, in fact we need wisdom to properly assess them at all.
For me, the only way I can avoid the unhealthy fear that can assail me on every side, the large and small, is by being in the word, and prayer. I say it in that order, because for me (and I think basic for everyone) being in the word, in scripture instills and strengthens my faith. I pray from what I’m reading, and from the Spirit’s help in giving the faith that arises from pondering God’s word. Maybe most basic is that it helps our faith to be active, so that when we encounter problems, our natural response is to pray.
We have God’s promises in scripture, one of which is that God will meet all of our needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). We always need to read the context of such promises, rather than pull them out of that, as we so often do. It is to believers who are partnering with Paul in the work of the gospel, both by their own witness, and by helping him so that he can carry on in that work, even if from a prison cell.
Foreboding and fear need to give way to faith, which doesn’t mean one doesn’t have a healthy sense of proper fear, or of the problems one faces. But that one believes in God’s help and provision in and through Jesus. So that we can move through the difficult places, maybe once in a while, even avoid them. As our faith grows even through those times, in and through Jesus.