One of the things I often fear is the future. I worry about what might happen, what could happen, and what I will do if any of the scenarios I've imagined takes place. I play out these situations in my mind, like a disc set on repeat. I try to anticipate what will happen and plan for every possibility.
In our culture today, there is much uncertainty about the future. Fears often trigger other emotions, including despair and anger and much of it is played out on social media. In truth, there is much to fear in our lives and in our world. The unknown future can seem dark and filled with danger. We wonder if we can handle it. We wonder how we can endure. From our children's health to paying for college; from job security to who runs the country; from prayers unanswered to relationships under strain; we worry about what could happen and what we will do when it does.
David wrote, "Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident" (Psalm 27:3). Psalm 27 is a song and a prayer of trusting God in the face of fears. We learn from this Psalm that our confidence is based on God's unending protection, "The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" (vs. 1). True safety is found in God's presence, "One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple" (vs.4).
The ultimate fulfillment of this Psalm is found in Christ, the one who conquered our worst fears at the cross. He is our light and salvation. Because of Jesus, we can come into God's presence with confidence and hope. As Paul wrote in Romans, "If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" (8:31-32). If God sacrificed His own Son to save us from our sins, how would he not also be with us in the fears we face today?
Dear friend, whatever you fear this day, go before the throne of grace in confidence because Christ has made the way for you. Cry out to God, give Him your fears, worries, and cares. Ask for salvation, rescue, and deliverance. Instead of despairing over what could or might happen, run to the One who holds the world in the palm of His hand. Turn to the One who turns the hearts of kings (Proverbs 21:1). Rest in the One who doesn't let a sparrow fall from the sky unless he so wills it (Matthew 10:29). Find your peace in the knowledge that He is the Alpha and Omega, the One who knows the beginning and the end. Nothing in your future will surprise your God because it is all under His sovereign rule and care. And because you are His, all things will work toward your ultimate good (Romans 8:28).
A Prayer for When You Fear the Future
Father in Heaven,
I come before you with my stomach twisted in knots. My heart is pounding, my head hurts, and I can't find any rest.
I open my computer and all I read is bad news. The discussions, debates, articles, and arguments all join together like a loud clanging that I can't escape. The future seems bleak and dark. I'm worried for myself and my family. I fear what the future holds. I wonder what life will be like for my children and my grandchildren.
Then I think about the struggles in my particular life and I can't catch my breath. What will we do if jobs are lost? What will we do if relationships aren't restored? What about the challenges with our children? What about the call from the doctor about the tests? What if the worst happens? What if????
I come before you as the psalmist did, weary, worn, and frightened. I come before you because you are King and you rule all things. I come before you because you are my Father, my Abba. You adopted me as your child and have given me every privilege that comes with being a part of your family. I come before you because you are my Savior. You alone can rescue me from fear, sin, temptation, and all evil. I come before you because you are my Provider, Jehovah Jireh. You created all things and own all things. All I have comes to me from your generous hands. I come before you because you are my Redeemer. You alone can redeem and restore all that is broken in my life and in the world around me.
Forgive me for turning my gaze from you and looking at the frightening things happening around me. Forgive me for forgetting that you are with me. Forgive me for not trusting. Forgive me for not crying out to you sooner but trying to conquer my fears in my own strength. Forgive me for not living in complete dependence upon you.
Father, hear the deepest cries of my heart. Rule and reign over your Kingdom, turn the hearts of kings, and may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Raise up godly leaders, teachers, pastors, and people who love you and your Word. Use your people to spread your gospel across the earth. May we be the salt and light you instructed us to be.
In my life Lord, give me a peace that passes all understanding. Though I don't know what will happen with all that troubles me this day, help me to trust you. Help me to remember that you are not surprised. Help me to remember that nothing will happen today that takes you off guard. You are not asleep or too busy but are actively involved in all the cares of my life. Help me to wait and watch for your glory. Help me to obey and do the right thing in the moment, knowing you are there in all the moments to come.
Most of all, help me to remember Jesus, the One who cried out in the garden on the night he was betrayed, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will” (Mark 13:46). I thank you that "for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2). Even now, he intercedes for me—what a marvelous truth!
I pray all this in the name of Jesus, Amen.