A 2010 survey of American ministers ranked Andy Stanley as the 10th most influential living pastor. I doubt seriously that his ratings have fallen any. He’s an incredible preacher.
Our Wednesday night Bible study uses videos by various teachers and preachers, and I doubt whether any of our group would fail to put Andy at the top of our list of favorites. He speaks to us, even as he speaks to his own congregation.
Last week we started watching a new series of Andy’s–new for us, anyhow. It’s called Tough As Nails. That first sermon was a knockout.
I don’t have to tell you that the world is full of uncertainty. I suppose it always has been, but things have gotten far worse than any of us could have imagined. And they’ll probably keep getting worse. How can they fail to with all the evil in the world and the world itself constantly growing smaller through the Internet and other forms of telecommunications?
None of us can be certain we’ll be alive tomorrow, much less next near. Any of us could fall victim to a crazed killer with a gun or a terrorist with a bomb or a machete. Or an equally crazed world leader with his finger on the trigger of a nuclear bomb that’s aimed in our direction. Or someone who’ll poison our water supply or take down our power grids.
Not to mention the threat of another megalomaniac president who’ll take away even more of our freedoms, including the ability to defend ourselves.
Over the years, I’ve been satisfied with wondering whether whether I’ll end up in a nursing home, perhaps for a prolonged period of time. Or die of cancer, a heart attack, or maybe be killed in an auto accident. Normal uncertainties I have no way of predicting the outcome of. Anymore than I can predict whether any of those more drastic concerns will ever affect me or us.
I’ll be honest. By nature, I tend to be a worrier. Or at least a fretter. (Not talking about my guitar playing.) But the older I’ve grown, the more I’ve learned to depend on God. As the old spiritual says, “He’s got the whole world in His hands.” I’ve reached the point I’d go crazy if I weren’t able to put as much faith as possible into that belief.
In that first Andy Stanley video, he introduced a short–but very appropriate–statement: Uncertainty is unavoidable; fear is optional.
I don’t think many of us would argue that uncertainty is here to stay. Especially as the possibilities we’re uncertain about grow more and more drastic.
Christians don’t need to fear the things we feel uncertain about, though. Andy Stanley reminded us of this advice Jesus gave His disciples:
Stop being afraid of those who kill the body but can’t kill the soul. Instead, be afraid of the one who can destroy both body and soul in hell. (Matthew 10:28, NIV)
With the prospect of eternity in Heaven, what difference does uncertainty about our earthly future make? When I think about that, my former fears tend to melt away. I feel much braver. Yes, braver. And much more capable of facing uncertainty with confidence.
Yes, someone can kill my body, but that doesn’t destroy my faith in the One who’s the keeper of my soul.
Andy Stanley is right. Fear is optional, and my choice is to put my hand in God’s and put fear further and further behind me.
What about you? Do you worry about the uncertainties of life? How about sharing a comment?
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