Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."
-- Mark 10:27
Exploding budget deficits. Government corruption. Mounting unemployment.
It seems like most news headlines these days involve some painful issue involving the economy or politics. There's escalated rhetoric about war in the Middle East. And no one knows how to stop that disasterous oil leak in the Gulf. So is it any wonder that some people literally fear what tomorrow will bring? After all, the future won't get any brighter. (That is, if you believe what the media keep repeating 24/7 on cable TV and the Internet.)
Of course, bad economic news isn't anything new in America. After the good times of vigorous spending and low unemployment, our economy invariably hits rough waters. That's when people grow wary and start cutting back on their spending. And soon enough, simple talk about recession turns into the real thing.
Thankfully, not everyone listens to the gloom-and-doomers. For instance, consider Kellogg's Rice Crispies, Hyundai automobiles, Kraft Miracle Whip and the Apple iPod. They're all extremely successful products that were introduced during economic downturns. How different would things be today if these companies had listened to their fears, followed conventional wisdom and decided against taking a risk?
Few would have blamed them had they played it safe. After all, fear and uncertainty come naturally when times get rough. God can seem far away. And we can feel discouraged and abandoned because we don't feel His presence. What's more, it doesn't help when the devil continues to talk us out of taking that first step of courage. But the truth is that God knows the plans He has for us. He also sees us for what we can become and not for who we are at the moment. Let's look at the Bible for some examples.
King David - one of the most powerful rulers in history - started out as an obscure shepherd boy. And Moses was a poor speaker who stuttered, yet God chose him to confront Pharaoh and lead the Israelites out of slavery. Then there's the Apostle Peter. He was a simple fisherman who actually disowned Jesus three times when things got tough. But God still picked him to lead the growing band of Christ-followers in Jerusalem.
Whatever we fear, the important thing to remember is that we don't face it alone. In fact, it's when we're in God's presence that we're the most protected. It's all a matter of coming to our Father in prayer, listening for His response and guidance, and obeying accordingly in faith.
"I say this because I know what I am planning for you," says the Lord. "I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future."