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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, January 18 2024

The sure cure for anxiety and fear

We’ve all experienced anxiety and fear. It might be the surprising loss of a job, the death of a loved one, health issues, or watching the report of some tragedy on television. Motivational speakers often maintain hope is the remedy for anxiety and uncertainty. But what is hope, and what should we hope for in the face of life's real anxieties and stresses?

The hope giving us the power to overcome anxiety and face fear is based on faith that God is the source. But even when we know God is the source of hope, we can still suffer times of worry, anxiety, and despair. It's part of the human experience.

Even though the Apostle Paul was a man who had great faith, he also battled anxiety, and had a particularly difficult time on one of his journeys through Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey). He wrote about it to the church in Corinth: "We are hard pressed on every side yet not crushed, we are perplexed but not in despair, persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but not destroyed" (II Cor 4:8-9).

Although Paul was very stressed, and felt perplexed by what was happening, he still had a positive expectation of the future because he believed the Gospel, as he expressed in the next verse: "Always carrying around in the body, the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our bodies" (verse 10). He knew God's promised future for him and that gave him hope: "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18).

Humanity suffers because we have turned our backs on God as the source of all life, truth, and hope. Hope develops when we focus on God, and the ultimate purpose of our lives. Paul continued, "For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God" (Romans 8:19). The sons of God are people who have given their lives to God, and hope for the resurrection to become part of His family.

Paul continued, "Because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God" (verse 21). This is the hope that Christians live for: "... we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs…. And not only that, but we… groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body" (verses 22-23). We groan because we live in an evil world. We see others suffer and we suffer with them.

Faith doesn't always mean we understand why we may be hard pressed, perplexed or persecuted. It’s the belief that God cares and will work out situations for our good: "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" (verse 28). This will ultimately be fulfilled when Christ returns to set up God's Kingdom on this earth.

God has a greater purpose for your life than just what happens right now. The Son of God is going to come and establish His Kingdom. And that's the hope we have as Christians. We are never going to find that hope in politicians, social movements, money, or fame. Jesus Christ is returning, and He is going to deal with poverty, war, crime, and everything that makes us hopeless and anxious. This is the expectation of all those who have turned their lives over to God and it’s a future worth hoping for.