Do You Fear the Future?
FEAR has many facets. For instance, some people are afraid of what lies ahead for the earth. “From heat waves to storms to floods to fires to massive glacial melts, the global climate seems to be crashing around us,” says Time magazine of April 3, 2006.
In May 2002, the United Nations Environment Programme released a report entitled “Global Environment Outlook-3.” It was prepared with the cooperation of over 1,000 people. According to a news report, it stated: “The planet is at a crucial cross-roads with the choices made today critical for the forests, oceans, rivers, mountains, wildlife and other life support systems upon which current and future generations depend.”
The present state of the global environment is but one cause of anxiety. People throughout the world now live in fear of terrorist attacks. The deputy director of operations for Canada’s top spy agency said: “We stay up at night worrying about the threats that we don’t know about.” Why, just watching the evening news on television can produce anxiety!
Many hardworking adults are afraid of losing their jobs. Layoffs, plant closures, competition in the workplace, and excessive demands by employers can create a climate of job insecurity. Teenagers face the fear of rejection by their peers. Young children may fear that their parents do not really love them. But what about conditions in the world around them? “For the young and the innocent, the world outside their home must seem like a big scary place at times,” says one worried mother. And many parents are anxious about the effect the world’s moral decay is having on the ones they love, especially their children.
The elderly often fear falling on a staircase or being assaulted on the street. Yes, “they have become afraid merely at what is high, and there are terrors in the way.” (Ecclesiastes 12:5) There is the fear of serious illness. Reports of deadly flu viruses, cancers, and infectious diseases can make us afraid of contracting some new and strange sickness that could cripple or kill us and our family. For that matter, when we see healthy, vibrant people becoming sick and frail, it is hard not to worry that the same thing will happen to us or to our loved ones. And how sad it is to look into a sick person’s eyes and see that they are devoid of hope!
Affected by the many facets of fear, do we have any sound reason to be optimistic about the future? Can anything help us to maintain a positive outlook? The following article will answer these questions.
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© Jeroen Oerlemans/Panos Pictures