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Choosing Faith and Joy in an Age of Fear and Anxiety

We have seen seismic shifts in our culture the past few years, and the changes continue at breakneck pace. Such rapid and changes can be rather disorienting to process, especially when so many things seem to be changing so quickly. 

We have also experienced a year of Covid-19, a global pandemic which is another first for just about everyone in the world. 

And, as the world and as our nation and culture tried to process how to navigate the waters of Covid-19 with all of the business closures, restrictions, economic uncertainty and political upheavals, many reported a sense of feeling stresssed or anxious. 

The social upheaval and social fragementation, was (and still is) another reality people are trying to process. 

Add to all of this the growing sense of isolation many report having from the shutdowns and restrictions over the past year and there are countless stories of a sizeable portion of our nation wrestling with depression and anxiety, fear and even anger. 

As Christians, we do wrestle with these kind of emotions from time to time, or we might have seasons of these feelings, but we must not forget Who we belong to and what that means. We have spiritual resources in Christ that lost humanity does not have, and we therefore have very real choices (that is right, choices) we can make, and must make, in an age of anxiety, anger and fear.

Because we belong to Christ and because He has overcome the world, and because He reigns, we do not fear. Because He is with us and will never forsake us, we do not fear. Because our perfect Heavenly Father has promised to take care of our needs, we are not anxious about tomorrow.

Because we have been forgiven everything because of what Jesus has done for us by virtue of His death, burial and resurrection, because He has shown us amazing grace and mercy, we are to be forgiving, loving, and His lavish grace poured out on us should produce a joy that this world cannot offer us. 

Because we belong to Christ, we realize we are not alone. Because we know that we are more than conquerers through Him who loves us, we do not shrink back in fear. Because we have been bought with a price, the precious blood of Christ, we find our freedom not in trying to live on our terms, but by presenting ourselves to Him as living sacrifices, holy, pleasing, which is our acceptable act of worship. 

We have very real choices. These choices are actually rooted in obedience to Christ and compelled by His love for us. 

We don't shrink back. We fix our eyes on our King and we run the race that is set before us in the grace He provides.

We are not victims. We are victorious because He is our victory and He is Victorious. 

When we experience anxiety we cast that at His feet because He has told us to, and, because He said He cares for us. 

When we are downcast, we join the Psalmist in preaching Truths to ourselves: 'why are you downcast, my soul? You will rejoice in the Lord for He sees and hears you and is mighty to save!'

Yes, we have choices. 

Our God reigns. We are not victims of circumstances or people. We are children of the King and our Father is Good.  He loves us so much He gave everything to redeem us. As such, He is to be our greatest love, the greatest object of our affection, and in that, we find true joy and happiness. He is worthy of that. 

Choices. 

The culture may change. Covid-19 could surge again in the next year. Yes, the culture could continue to fragment and the changes could continue to multiply exponentially. You (or I) might become very ill this year. We may lose someone we love this year. There might be more hardships ahead. 

That does not change the fact that our God reigns and for His people He is doing something amazing, causing all things to work together for our ultimate good and His glory and also taking every one of our sufferings is actually being  used by Him to prepare us for a glory beyond our comprehension. 

So, we stop hiding. We stop isolating. We don't consider ourselves victims, rather we know who we belong to and are confident that He is going to keep what we have committed to Him until that day we see Him face to Face and we rejoice that we are His and He is ours. 

We love. We rejoice. We choose faith in the God who reigns and we spend the life He gave us for His glory and the blessing of others. 

Perhaps you needed to be reminded of these things. I know I do from time to time. 

May we all choose faith over fear, love over anger, and joy over anxiety.

We have every reason to do so!

Grace to You,

Pastor