A Faith-Based Guide to Fear of the Future

It can be scary when your future is uncertain.

Maybe you're heading off to your first year of college, unsure of what the future away from home holds. Or maybe you're in between jobs, anxious about where you'll end up. Perhaps you’ve been agonizing over the release of test results that seemingly determine your future. Whatever it is, we can all agree that not knowing where we'll be in a month, a year, or ten years from now can be pretty worry-inducing.

While it's hard to simply say "don't worry" when facing this kind of uncertainty in our future, that's exactly what God tells us to do. He reminds us over and over again of His control over our lives, of the fact that each new day has already been crafted by His loving hands. He tells us that He has plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future. If we believe all this is true, then what reason do we have to worry?

You see, often times our worrying stems from the fact that we don’t entirely trust God’s ability to handle things on His own. If we truly believed in His control- in His promises to bless us (Jeremiah 29:11), to provide for us (Matthew 6:25-33), to make everything happen in His perfect timing (Ecclesiastes 3:11)- then we would be able to face the future without fear, knowing that He’s got it.

Here are just a handful of verses that illustrate why we should trust Him:

Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Matthew 6:25–27: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.... Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

Philippians 4:6-7: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” 

Psalm 100:5: “For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” 

So next time you find yourself trying to tighten your control over the unknown, try instead to embrace it. Take comfort in the fact that your heavenly Father rules over your life with a love greater than you can imagine, and pray for Him to strengthen and grow your trust. When the worries do creep up, recognize their futility (as they have no power to change the future- only bring you down in the present) and practice surrendering them to God. They may not be easy to let go of at first, but with time and continued prayer, you’ll notice your grasp on them beginning to loosen.

And if things don't end up how you planned, don't let it discourage you from continuing to trust in God’s control. It can be easy to feel like He may have forgotten about you, but just remember that He is always present in the waiting and is at work even when we least imagine it (see Lamentations 3:25, Isaiah 40:31, James 5:7-8, and James 1:2-3). Good things will come- sometimes it just takes some waiting or trials to get there.

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