5. Fear vs. Faith

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain about what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:1

Our ancestral brains were programmed to prefer the status quo over change in our
lives. Even if our lives are currently frustrating or annoying, at least they are
predictable, which our brains prefer over being unknown and unpredictable.

The inability to know with a degree of certainty what the future will bring will lead
us to assume the worst. In our imaginations, we create worst case scenarios and
consider them a threat we should avoid. For many, we fear a future that is different
than today.

So what is our natural reaction to addressing this fear of the unknown future? We
decide to create a plan.

As far as we know now, we humans are the only animals on earth that can create a
plan for the future. We work hard to envision a series of steps that we believe will
minimize future threats and maximize success. We believe that plans will protect us
from future harm. I’m reminded of a widely shared quote and book title that reads,

“We plan, God laughs.”

We might be able to plan things that have been done many times in the past, such as
a wedding or a road trip. But we cannot make plans when the situation is uncertain
or unknown, such as a changed future.

Life happens and plans change – frequently. Because we can’t control life events and other people, our carefully-crafted plans often fail. Just look at how many plans
were disrupted by the coronavirus.

Faith

In Hebrews, we learn that faith is being “sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

It is believing in something, even though we can’t see it with our physical senses. Without faith, we could not believe in God, because we cannot see God. But through faith, we can be certain that God exists and certain that God will keep His/Her promises.

So people of faith should not fear the future, which we cannot see either. If we believe that a changed future will be better than our status quo, people of faith will march boldly into the unknown future.

I would also argue that people of faith do not need a plan for the future. When we
follow a plan, we are focusing only on what we short-sighted humans believe the
future will bring.

We miss seeing a significant number of opportunities that are in the world when we
are focused only on the elements of our plan. If we plan to take a superhighway to
our destination, we will miss the natural beauty and local color that can be found on
back roads.

People of faith recognize that the journey to a better life, the journey to our future,
should be an open-minded “faith journey.”

We can still envision a preferred future and make decisions along the way that help
us reach that preferred future. But our hearts and minds recognize that the path
will be defined by our discoveries and serendipity, not our plan.

Is the life you are living today a result of a plan that you created in your teenage years?

The journey to a “better” life can be an exciting adventure for people of faith.
Confident that God will provide for our needs, we can focus on meeting the needs of others.

Doug Bate
Service Central