God made human beings to be pretty resilient. Even though we may complain and stress over some things in our lives, we often move forward with our plans anyway. Many of the Hurricane Katrina victims showed a powerful example of this. Even under the most horrible of conditions, some of the people of that area moved forward and began to rebuild what they had lost. They could not imagine leaving the place they had known and loved all their lives.
Man adapts while enduring through so many difficult situations. Those of us outside of these events may not be able to understand fully until we ourselves are put into a similar position. But, of course, we naturally are sure such things just couldn’t happen to us.
Man adapts while enduring through so many difficult situations.
This way of thinking serves as a defense mechanism that allows us to go on when the world may be coming apart all around us. Without it, we would all fall to pieces at every little disturbance in our lives. Without it, the police force, fire department, the local hero and even the parents of this world could not function. The fear of something happening to our family members or ourselves would overwhelm us and we would become immobilized.
Living in a danger zone
I have a friend who recently moved into my neighborhood. She came to the United States a few years ago from Jerusalem. I asked her if she had lived in constant fear of being bombed or of war breaking out. She just shrugged her shoulders and said that they were used to things like that happening. It was just life as usual there. “Yes,” she said, “you never know if a bomb will come, but you don’t live like that. You just hoped that if something did come, it wouldn’t hit you.”
We need not worry about tomorrow because God has tomorrow all planned out. Though it may be difficult, we must go on.
I later met her mother, who still lives in Jerusalem, and she said there was nothing to fear traveling to that area. She may be right, but for me it seems like a risk I’m not sure I want to take. My point is that while they lived day-to-day as if nothing would happen, I (as an outsider) would have been sure it would. Living in the situation makes the difference. God instilled in us a healthy fear to help keep us out of trouble and to help us know when we should flee a situation. But for most of us, our minds can only handle so much fear before they work to block it out.
Of course, blocking out fear is not the real solution. And there will always be those who are not able to ignore their fears. These fearful people, filled with anxiety, are unable to have confidence in much of anything or anyone. But if they—and all of us—could just find faith in God and trust in His promise to help, comfort and protect, they could overcome those feelings. The spirit of man sometimes struggles, while the Spirit of God stays steady. As we read in 2 Timothy 1:7: “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
The reality is that we don’t know what might happen in life. We could one day be crossing a street and be hit by a car, or we could be suddenly surprised by an awful tornado while we are enjoying a hot summer evening.
We could be caught in an unexpected fierce snowstorm while climbing a mountain, a situation three men found themselves in while climbing Mount Hood in Oregon in December of 2006. They were experienced climbers and traveled without fear, even leaving a note that explained how much gear they had with them. All this and yet one was found dead and, in spite of a massive search, the others’ bodies were not found. They didn’t fear what could happen; they just went on as if nothing would happen.
Still, we cannot live our lives in constant fear, or we would never leave our homes. We are bombarded daily with news from around the world: people starving, people dying in floods, fire and war. In fact, we have so much information, it would be easy for us to just give up hope that life is worth living.
But God put within us a will to live and keep on surviving. We need not worry about tomorrow because God has tomorrow all planned out. Though it may be difficult, we must go on. As Jesus Christ said, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:34, King James Version).
God’s will and plan
God has a plan for us all, and He can calm us when times get difficult or even when we are facing death.
We wouldn’t want to go out of our way to do dangerous things and put our lives in jeopardy, but we need to be able to go out and do things without being in constant dread of unknown circumstances (Philippians 4:6-7). In order to do so, we need to listen to the fear that tells us when to watch out for ourselves—the fear that keeps us from doing things that are either against God or that would put us in situations that endanger us.
Look at what it says in James 4:13-16: “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’ But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.”
God has a plan for us all, and He can calm us when times get difficult or even when we are facing death. Yes, we feel fear, but we do not need to be overwhelmed by it. As Christ said: “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him! Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12:4-7).
God gives us many gifts, including these three:
1. The ability to cope even during the most difficult of times.
2. The very will to live, given to us all at creation.
3. The Holy Spirit to aid us in our walk through life.
“But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; He is their strength in the time of trouble. And the LORD shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him” (Psalm 37:39-40).
God is there for us; He helps us to keep going as long as we are walking in His way. He is always there encouraging us to go forward with the knowledge that He is with us and that He has given us the gifts needed to do it anyway.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).