- J. J. Fischer
I'm afraid... then I remember: A Christian's manifesto for the modern age
#fear #anxiety #suffering #theanxietymanifesto #christianliving
(Originally published September 1, 2020)
Today, I'm afraid.
I fear that the pursuit of happiness has left its strongest athletes floundering, wondering how they can possibly complete the race.
I fear we have become a generation that cancels people, not ideas.
I fear we oscillate between loving ourselves too much and not loving ourselves enough.
I fear we are so desperate to find the right person that we forget to be the right person, and as such, we have bred a generation of travellers rather than destinations.
I fear that never in our history have we had such an idealised body image, and never have we been so far from it.
I fear the Australian dream has become a nightmare.
I fear that we are better equipped than ever to fix the dying, but not those who are dying inside.
I fear we are quick to expunge the "toxic" people in our lives while ignoring the poison infiltrating our hearts.
I fear we are so focussed on capturing the moment we have forgotten how to live in it.
I fear the lies we embrace to diminish our responsibility and accountability rob us of the very agency and freedom we so eagerly long for.
I fear we are quick to blame our parents and absolve our children, without recognising the apparent contradiction contained therein.
I fear we would rather sanitise history than sanitise our hearts.
I fear we hold others to a standard we could never achieve for ourselves.
I fear we still believe we can save the world through our own efforts.
I fear we are quick to ask questions but rarely listen to or search for the answers.
I fear we empty our minds when we should be emptying our hearts.
I fear we de-clutter our homes when we should be de-cluttering our schedules.
I fear that in our zeal to make amends for the sins of our ancestors we ignore the sins of the present.
I fear we are increasingly quick to speak and slow to listen.
I fear we put truth to death because it puts us to shame.
I fear identity has become a commodity that better describes what we wear or who we associate with than what is in our hearts.
I fear that we have exchanged love for tolerance, sincerity for politeness, and truth for acceptance.
I fear we are more willing to embrace a beautiful lie rather than the painful truth.
I fear that in our efforts to unseat the dictators and tyrants outside of ourselves, we never see the rebel that lies within.
I fear we are so overwhelmed by reality that we run to the wide-open arms of illusion.
I fear we are reluctant to offend but eager to judge.
I fear politics has become the new morality, and that right opinions have replaced righteousness.
I fear we spend more time looking down than looking up… or around.
But then I remember, and my fear melts away.
I remember that every age has a tendency to dwell on the faults of the generation standing in the dawn while downplaying the sins of those entering the dusk.
I remember there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
I remember everything in this world is fading away (1 John 2:17).
I remember God always leaves a remnant, no matter how dark the world grows (Romans 11:5).
I remember that in every age, there are people who stand up for justice, who bear the fruit of righteousness, who shine like a beacon in the night.
I remember that what I do now echoes in eternity (Marcus Aurelius).
I remember love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).
I remember that no matter how much life changes, God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
I remember I am not living for this world, but for the one to come (Hebrews 13:14).
I remember that Jesus also bore disgrace, and that he died alone, forsaken by mankind (Hebrews 13:11-13).
I remember that the pain of this world is nothing compared to the eternal glory that awaits me (Romans 8:18).
I remember the deep in me is only an echo of the depth of God (Psalm 42:7).
I remember I am only standing on one foundation: Jesus Christ, the chief cornerstone (1 Peter 2:6).
I remember that my identity is now rooted solely in Him (1 Peter 2:10).
I remember that who I am in Christ can never be taken away from me (Romans 8:35-39).
I remember that it is only when I am empty of myself that I am full of Him (Ephesians 4:22-24; Philippians 3:8).
I remember that God's power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
I remember that, one day, God Himself will wipe away my every tear (Revelation 21:4) and all the things I feared will count for nothing.
So today, I choose to remember all that God has done for me and all He has promised to do. Knowing that my present struggles only make sense in the light of eternity, I cast all my anxieties on Him because I know He cares for me. And I remind myself of everything I know to be true about His goodness, His character, and His plan.
Come, Lord Jesus!
"Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done."
- C.S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer