Should I Be Worried Now?

In 2020 the practice of worry seemed to take over our world. We were told to worry about EVERYTHING! And when we weren’t worried, we heard on the news that we should be! So far 2021 isn’t much better at alleviating any of my concerns. In fact, I have gone from being worried I might get sick and die to an even greater concern that I am loosing my freedom to choose to be sick.

Knowing the truth helps alleviate worry. Back in Sep 23, 2020 the CDC released an update saying that individuals are more likely to survive the virus after contracting it. And if you’re over 70, the survival rate is nearly 95%. Age groups of 0 to 19 have a 99.997% chance of survival.

I tend to look at life with faith and I am learning to search out truth and not be satisfied with just following along because everyone else is doing something. I am thankful I have lived in a country that has allowed me that freedom. My concern is that this freedom to choose what is best for me could quickly be taken away under the guise of being concerned for my good.

So, what do you do as a Believer in Christ when you find yourself letting fear and worry take over your thoughts and even your behavior?

Last year, and even now this year I have been reminded over and over again that I have to listen to and depend on the voice of God to steady my fears. The Lord is in control. He is the only one that can dispel worry for me. The Bible actually says it is a waste of time to worry. The Psalms are great for helping me focus on God’s greatness and how He sees me and fights for me.

Psalms 56:3 says “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.” Psalms 34:4 says “I sought the Lord and He heard me and delivered me from ALL my fears.” Psalms 118:6 “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”. I like to read Psalms 23 and apply it personally to every worry I might have. It is full of examples of how He promises to help us.

  • He is our protector.
  • He never leaves us.
  • He is our provider.
  • He will guide us and show us what to do when we are confused.
  • He promises to be there for us no matter what is happening around us and no matter what situation we find ourselves in.

As a child, growing up in Nigeria back in the 1960s there were many times when fear wanted to rule our life. Fear truly can be “so thick you can cut it with a knife”. If my parents hadn’t known that God sent them there with their four young children, they wouldn’t have lasted for one week much less ten years. They trusted God for healing when we were sick and for guidance when we were in the middle of a civil war. They had to overcome fear with faith and act accordingly. That is what I am asking God to reveal to me in these days. How do I act in faith and not fear? How do I let my life show more of God to this world? Let my faith and confidence in whose I am, be seen by my actions.

Should I be worried? No. God is in control and He will show me what to do.

SPEAK THE TRUTH

2020 was a year that brought lots of changes. All of us have had to learn to do everyday life in new ways. When such drastic change happens in the world around you, it exposes weaknesses and strengths in the structure of your current life. I have taken the month of January to ask myself some hard questions. The one that brought me up short was “How did 2020 change me?” As I was honest with myself I had to admit to this one huge weakness that I had allowed in my life.

I HAD CHANGED FROM BEING OPEN AND HONEST TO SOMEONE WHO IS AFRAID TO SPEAK OUT.

My nickname as a child and even as a young wife and mom, was ‘honest John”. In fact, my in-laws always said, “If you want to know the truth, ask Susan. She tells it like it is!” I was honest to a fault!

Over the years I found out people didn’t want me to be too honest. Because I served in ministry in our church, I was often asked to councel those I served when they needed help. I learned pretty quickly that many of them didn’t really want to hear an honest answer to their situation. When I was honest with them about what I felt God showed me, oftentimes, they never asked for my council again. Over time I learned to test the waters before I offered any council to see how honest they really wanted me to be.

This year the art of hiding what I am really thinking has gone to another level. In fact, I have learned that if I say what I really think or even share what I know as truth, I am often ridiculed and shamed for speaking out. As a result, I have found myself choosing to be silent because I’ve been afraid of opposition.

I haven’t really liked this new me. It has made me feel uncomfortable, like I’m hiding in a cave, afraid someone will find me and do who knows what to me because they don’t like what I stand for or believe. I have never been a ‘hide in the cave’ sort of person!!

So I asked the Lord, (who is my ultimate counselor) “Is it a bad thing to choose to be silent and let others assume I agree with their view in order to avoid saying what I believe to be true because I’m afraid of rejection and ridicule?”

This is what I heard God say, “When you chose to follow me, you chose to be ridiculed and rejected.”

Being afraid to speak the truth or speak out against a wrong I see is something I face almost everyday. It’s easy to just hide in my corner of the world and pretend I am ok with things that are going on around me when I am NOT. When I chose to follow Jesus I wasn’t promised a life without opposition. All I have to do is read the New Testament to know that the life of a follower of Jesus was not easy. It is full of situations where believers were put in prison for what they said and did. They were beheaded and their children were killed. Life was scary! Do I think those things could happen to me? I sure hope not!!! But I can’t let the fear that they could keep me from sharing the gospel and speaking out against wrongs that are being called right.

Truth has become whatever people want it to be. We even hear statements such as “Well, that is my truth.” There aren’t any absolutes anymore. But if you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ you should know what the truth is and it should set you free, not put you in prison!!

I HAVE TO BASE MY TRUTH ON THE WORD OF GOD!

He is the TRUTH! Therefore what He says is true. I have to know what the Bible says about how to live in this world. I have to know what my life is built on and make sure my foundation is sure. So many people who say they are Christians aren’t even sure they believe what the Bible says is for today. In order to be sure of what I believe, I have to be studying the scripture and check out what I am hearing from others to make sure what they are saying is based in scripture. I can’t just believe everything I’m told.

The days of the ‘lazy’ Christian are gone. We have to know what we know and when we don’t know we have to search the scriptures and depend on the Holy Spirit to teach us what is right!

How will 2021 be different from 2020 in my life? I plan to say more and read more. No longer will I accept what people are saying on social media or TV as truth. I plan to make a point to educate myself so I’m not afraid to speak out when I need to. 2020 was a wakeup call for me and I am excited to see what God is going to do in 2021.

I’d love to hear about the changes you want to see in your life this year.

It’s Time to Stand in Faith: A Story of God’s Provision

In the last few weeks I have been asking myself questions like “how do I stay strong in this fear driven world?” And “what if I get this virus?” And even “what if my income is affected by this shaky economy?” I’m sure you have found yourself asking the same questions. There is so much unknown and the ‘what ifs’ are constantly on my mind.

This is when talking to myself becomes a healthy thing to do.

I remind myself of other seasons of uncertainty that I have lived through (and survived) and have seen God provide for me and my family in miraculous ways. The Bible is full of these kinds of stories but they are even more real when they are your own and come out of real-life experiences.

When I was 16 I lived in war-torn Nigeria with my missionary parents and three brothers. We were in our third term when we found ourselves caught in the middle of civil war. There was a time when our area was taken over and we were cut off from all communication with the outside world for 6 weeks. (This was before computers and cell phones, so being cut off was really that.) Our families back home didn’t know if we were dead or alive. Altogether there were three families, consisting of 6 children (the youngest being four years old) and 8 adults. Stores were closed and food was scarce as there were no trucks bringing in supplies. The roads out of the area were blocked so we had no other recourse but to stay put.

My dad and several of the men decided to drive 30 miles into the nearest town. We knew there were some American oil bases in the area and we hoped that some of their people had remained to watch over their equipment.

When they arrived at the American oil base a large man in his Texan hat came out to greet them. When it was explained that we lived 30 miles away and there were children and more adults the man said: “If you guys are staying around then you need to come with me.” They got in his Land Rover and he drove them to a huge warehouse. As they drove up my dad said: “This is the warehouse I saw in my dream last night!”

Long story short, we were given as much food as we wanted and also given a movie projector and movies to watch (that was well before home movies were even heard of). I remember eating canned pie filling and steaks, food that was fit for a king (in my mind)!

Not only did God provide but He provided more than we needed. It was a miracle provision I WILL NEVER FORGET!!!

As a young adult, this made a huge impression on my life. I can honestly say that I have never doubted that the God I serve will ever let me down. I know He loves me and cares not only for my needs but goes above and beyond my needs to take care of me. He is a miracle-working God and it’s during seasons like we are living in that He shines. If we can trust Him and depend on Him and remind ourselves that He will take care of us, I believe we will see and hear miraculous stories of provision and healing come out of this season. The scripture below challenged me today.

Stand in faith for yourself, your family, and your friends.

PS. I would love to hear some of your stories of God’s goodness during this season of quarantine and self-distancing as we share with each other in the comments. Look for the good and let’s encourage each other!