Eternity. I regularly find myself using it to describe a long day. To emphasize how overwhelming the endless loads of laundry are. To express my frustration when Dave and I haven’t enjoyed a date night in far too long. It’s an easy word to use lightly and out of context.
But eternity, eternal existence, is taken very seriously in Scripture. I read about it. I understand the importance of it. I realize its gravity in conversations because, when talking about what lies beyond mortal living, there is only one positive outcome.
Death is a part of life. The flower fades, the grass withers, and all living things come to their end. I imagine that I will live a long life, grow old with my husband, watch our children become independent and successful, then pass away peacefully in my sleep. But, after tragically losing someone I cherished, the reality of eternity is in my everyday thoughts. And it fills me with an unexplainable fear of the unknown.
It’s not forever itself that I dread. Heaven, in the presence of Jesus, will be amazing – no tears, pain, death, sadness. Instead it’s an uneasiness ignited by the hurt and pain and suffering here, on earth, that consumes my thoughts. I’m coming to realize that the life I planned for myself is probably not the life God has prepared for me. And, for someone who plans and schedules every aspect of their existence, this is unnerving.
We do not know the number of days we have left to live… and that scares me. My prayer life has taken on a pleading tone. “Please, God, don’t take my husband and children from me. I need them! Please, God, don’t take me from my husband and children. They need me!”
These thoughts of fear and worry and anxiety keep me up late into the night and this prayer is on constant repeat. One evening, as I was having a particularly rough time, my husband reminded me that these feelings are sinful and self destructive. He encouraged me to set aside time to re-listen to a series our church did several years ago titled The Acceptable Sins of Christians. During this study our former pastor, David Whiting, specifically addresses these very issues that I am struggling with today.
If you deal with similar feelings then I encourage you to take time and listen to this message on worry, anxiety and fear. In the meantime, here are some of my favorite takeaways.
3 reminders to fight this internal war…
- Worry is not logical. It will not change reality.
- Worry is a lack of faith. Learn to trust God one moment at a time.
- Life circumstances are out of our control but, as Christ followers, we can confidently hope in the One who is in control.
Without intending to, I’ve put God in a tiny box – exalting my own plans over His so that I can live in peace. But instead of being liberated from fear and nervousness I am held prisoner to it. This is not God’s design. He has not given us a spirit of fear. He made a way, through Jesus, to replace our misery with love and power and self-discipline.
It’s time. Time to worry less and pray more. Time to face the “what if” fears and replace them with “even if” trust. Time to let God’s faithfulness erase my own anxiousness. Time to live freely.
I know I am not alone in this; many experience similar emotions. Anxiety may be an old enemy or it may be one you are slowly becoming acquainted with. Either way, each day has its own trouble without adding our fear and worry to it. Let’s remove the roots of unbelief and replace them with a foundation of unshakable faith. And let’s do it together.
I would love to know who is in this with me! What are some ways you fight against the sin of worry, anxiety and fear? Are there specific Scripture verses you cling to?
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7