In the wake of recent headlines (and the strong reactions to them), it’s hard not to get discouraged about the world.
Violent entertainment, gangs, pollution, pornography, rampant drug abuse, never-ending wars, and political and civil unrest are but a small sampling of just how ugly things are. To be completely honest, I’ve often wondered if it’s morally responsible to bring children into such a dark world.
But whenever I feel overwhelmed by my fears, I remember a bit of advice that my dad told me. It was in the fall of 2008, and the U.S. economy had just taken a nose-dive. Although I didn’t quite understand what was going on, two words were very clear: Economic Recession. On nearly every television station, reporters and politicians bemoaned the state of the economy and made gloomy, dire, and almost apocalyptic predictions. By all accounts, it sounded like America was on the brink of collapse.
I turned to my dad and asked him what he thought about it. He continued to stare at the screen and quietly shook his head.
“It looks like a lot of people are afraid. But you know what, Seth? I don’t subscribe to fear. And why should I? Fear rarely produces a positive result. All we can do is do our best to understand our situation and move forward with faith.”
And you know what? He was right. Fear is destructive and defeating, but faith is constructive and creative. Fear finds an excuse while faith finds a way.
I wish I could tell you that my dad’s advice will give you endless prosperity and good fortune—but that would be a lie. In the years since the beginning of the economic recession, my family has had its share of problems—most of us lost our original jobs and were forced to find new ones. We’ve had car trouble, money trouble, house trouble, and serious medical troubles.
But you know what? In our times of trouble, we don’t subscribe to fear—we subscribe to faith. Instead of fearing the unknown, we’ve looked ahead to the possibilities. Instead of giving attention to the things that feed our doubts and fears, we give attention to the things that feed our faith and our hope. Living in a world full of fear, maintaining faith hasn’t been easy. But in that struggle for faith, we’ve been able to learn amazing lessons, and we’ve grown closer together as a family.
And part of me thinks that’s the way it was meant to be. If we are determined to move forward with faith, then opposition and resistance are the forces that will make us stronger. Yes, the world has is filled with terrible, dreadful things—but it’s also filled with wonderful, inspiring things. You are free to choose your subscription: will you subscribe to fear, or will you subscribe to faith?