Are You Fearful For the Future?


Let’s talk about something important. Are you fearful for the future?

This life can be pretty scary at times.

Who knows what’s going to happen with our government? With drugs, morals, terrorism, the economy or all kinds of other issues? If our finances are tight or one of our children is going through a crisis, we can be tempted to fear and preoccupied with the future.

It’s so easy to become obsessed with the future. To be fearful for the future. To only think about what could happen.

In the Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis, senior demon Screwtape gives his disciple Wormwood advice on tempting his human subject:

The humans live in time but our Enemy destines them to eternity. He therefore, I believe, wants them to attend chiefly to two things, to eternity itself, and to that point of time which they call the present. He would have them continually concerned either with eternity (which means being concerned with Him) or with the Present – either meditating on their eternal union with, or separation from Himself, or else obeying the present voice of conscience, bearing the present cross, receiving the present grace, giving thanks for the present pleasure.

Our business is to get them away from the eternal, and from the Present. It is far better to make them live in the Future – thought about the Future inflames hope and fear. Also it is unknown to them, so that in making them think about it we make them think of unrealities. Nearly all vices are rooted in the future. Gratitude looks to the past and love to the present; fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead. — C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

Satan wants us focused on anything but eternity or today. Worrying about the future is a futile exercise, because most of what we are concerned with will never happen. We spend all kinds of time consumed with and fearful of unrealities – things that don’t even exist. We work out all kinds of scenarios in case of this or that contingency, most of which will never materialize. But Jesus says,

Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble? (Mt. 6.34).

Jesus does not say we should not plan for tomorrow, but not to be anxious, worried or fearful about it. If we are anxious about tomorrow, we are really saying that God won’t be there, he won’t be faithful, he won’t supply grace. But for believers in Jesus, our Heavenly Father will supply grace, and strength and all we need. So rather than being anxious, cast your cares on him, ask him for whatever you desire, and thank him for the grace he will supply. One of my favorite passages is Habakkuk 3:17-19:

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
GOD, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places.

Habakkuk says that even if everything else dries up, his joy is in God. He describes a total famine – no figs, no fruit on the vines, dead fields, no flocks, no animals in the barn. But his focus is not on all he lacks but on his God – he says even if all these other things are gone, I’ll have joy, because my joy is in the God who saves me. His material goods aren’t his strength, his God is.

Jesus would have you tend to today. What does he want you to do today? Ask him for grace and wisdom to help you serve and glorify him today. Cast your cares on him. Ask him to fill you with joy in him. Thank him for his faithfulness. His peace will guard your heart and mind.

So are you fearful for the future? Take heart. God’s got this.

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Mark Altrogge

I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.