Friday, January 8, 2010

What If...

You came near when I called you, and you said, "Do not fear."

-- Lamentations 3:57

Recently, a well-known insurance company ran a series of television commercials that asked viewers to ponder a small – yet profound – question: “What if?”

What if you get sick and can’t work? What if you get married and have triplets? What if you die and your family can’t live without your lost income? The company’s commercials were effective reminders that real-life situations have real-life implications. And if you’re not prepared (such as with the right insurance coverage), you really might have something to fear. After all, millions of people endure serious illnesses and injuries every year, and a person’s financial needs tend to correspond to their changing life issues. And we can’t forget the most obvious “What if.” Unless Jesus returns during our lifetimes, every one of us will die one day. The mortality rate is 100 percent. And no one gets out of here alive.

The sad reality is that we live in a scary world full of violence, disease, death and economic uncertainty. It’s been that way for centuries. And Christ-followers aren’t immune from any of it. But we do have an answer to facing the gnawing fears that grip so many who don’t know the Son of God as their personal Savior. It’s His supernatural peace that defies all human understanding.

“I give you peace, the kind of peace that only I can give,” Jesus reminds us in John 14:27. “It isn't like the peace that this world can give. So don't be worried or afraid.”

Jesus also says that when we say yes to Him and become His followers, He’s always right there by our side. That’s reassuring news. And the Bible (God’s Word to us) also provides more practical advice for addressing life’s most daunting challenges. First, we should face our fears with other believers rather than going it alone. And like an Olympic athlete preparing his or her body for gold medal competition, we must remain spiritually prepared for our opposition. That means depending on God and His power rather than on self-reliance. Finally – and above all – we must always follow God’s call and do His will (regardless of the world’s consequences). It’s often a scary proposition. But that’s because God demonstrates His power and goodness by choosing folks to do the things they never could accomplish on their own. Consider how young David must have felt when God selected him to slay the 8-foot-tall Philistine warrior, Goliath?

Yes, we live in a frightening world of what-ifs. But Christ-followers have nothing to fear because God is – and always has been – in control in every situation. Jesus’ disciples came to understand this reflection of His love and power the day they faced death in the stormy waters of Lake Galilee. "Master, Master! We are about to drown," they warned Jesus as He slept in their small boat. But Christ was unfazed: He simply got up and ordered the wind and waves to be calm.

And they did.

"Who is this?” the disciples asked in amazement. “He can give orders to the wind and the waves, and they obey him!"

Why not embrace the Answer to the disciples’ profound question? It’s only through Jesus that we can say yes without fear.

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