Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The End from the Beginning

Anxiety is one of the great universal human afflictions. It can be triggered by things as trivial as low popularity; as potentially serious as cancer; or as general and speculative as environmental concerns. Whatever the cause, the effects are the same: difficulty concentrating on the present; diminished joy; and frequently physical symptoms such as nausea, tense muscles, and shallow breathing.

Even secular psychologists tell us that worry is useless, and frequently harmful. For us as Christians, it is also illogical--and frequently sinful. Fear of the future is rooted in the desire to "be like God," knowing all and controlling all--and also in lack of faith that the real God has our best interests at heart, or will give us strength to cope.

I understand the worry habit--for much of my life, I've had one of the worst cases. Part of it may be rooted in my imaginative-but-sensitive temperament. But "I was just born that way" is as poor an excuse for worry as for alcoholism or violent temper. It borders on blasphemy, hinting that God is too weak to help us overcome our problems.

Nor is He too weak to work out all circumstances--even death, war, and mass destruction--for His glory and our good (cf. Rom. 8:28). Nothing ever surprises the One Who said:

"I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please" (Is. 46:9-10, NIV).

The comfort in knowing that should override any temptation to anxiety.

Fear not if the highway is foggy;
Fear not if your vision is short:
God knows where your journey is leading,
And He is your strongest support.

Fear not if all life seems confusion
And all understanding seems fleet:
You have a mere piece of the puzzle,
But God sees the picture complete.

Fear not if your story seems tragic;
Fear not when fresh dangers portend:
Our Father has written each chapter,
And happy with Him is the end.

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