If concern about specific aspects of your future, or the future in general, affects you, there are two statistics you might want to keep in mind.
The First Statistic: How we see the future is so often a measure of important aspects of who we are – particularly, one would think, a measure of our religious faith or lack thereof. We would expect people of faith to have less fear of the future – despite medical, economic or social problems. However, a recent Barna Group survey conducted in the United States revealed an interesting fact: while 77% of Americans in general were found to be concerned about what the future holds, 82% of Protestant Christians expressed concern for the future. (You can view the Barna infographic with these statistics here.)
While it may be that some Christians felt concern regarding possible “End Time” scenarios shaping up in the world around them, it seems paradoxical that those of religious faith should fear the future more than the average person in society. This is perhaps especially true for Christians when we consider the words of Jesus: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear” (Matthew 6:25). Jesus went on to give the parable of the birds of the air and the flowers of the field that do not worry about the future, but are provided for, and said that we should not worry about anything: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself” (Matthew 6:24).
The Second Statistic: These words of Jesus recorded in Matthew 6 are not just a positive parable in isolation. The Barna survey results are surprising considering another statistic – a biblical one – that we should consider seriously if we feel apprehensive about the future. The most frequently repeated command in the Bible is: “Do not fear” or “Do not be afraid.” When we read each instance of these many scriptures telling us not to fear, we find that they cover almost every aspect of life and its fears – economic, social, and physical safety and well being.
It is important that we as Christians remember this fact. The Son of God experienced life just as we do and experienced the same causes of concern and apprehension. Perhaps precisely because of this, and the fact that He clearly overcame the temptation to fear, He urges His disciples continually to do likewise and to refuse to fear the future. If fear and apprehension about tomorrow are concerns with which you wrestle, see one of our most popular articles: “Facing the Future Without Fear” for practical advice. Decide now that if the first statistic given in this article applies to you, with God’s help you will make the second statistic apply to you, also.