Concerned? Yes. Afraid? No.

Watching the news is depressing and even frightening. My first tendency is to react with fear about the future. But I can’t get around a couple of things that Jesus said about worry.

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today”(Matthew 6:34, NLT)

That is a true statement! But Jesus was not saying that my concerns are not valid or even important. He was saying that worrying about the future misses the point of what really matters.

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”

The key word is need. I long for wants but our Father promises only that my needs will be met. And over and over God tells us another thing.

Do not be afraid.

Over 80 times you find the phrase “do not be afraid” in the Bible. Perhaps the most relevant example is when Jesus was preparing His followers for His departure. His words are a comforting balm for us today.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 12:27)

I am concerned about the state of  the world, our country, and particularly our dysfunctional discourse. But I am not afraid. I stand with the author of Hebrews who wrote these words during some trying times.

So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6, NLT)

Indeed. One of my Dad’s favorite songs comes to mind. The song is called “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow” and it was written in 1950 by a traveling preacher named Ara Stanphill. He wrote the song during a time of agony and doubt in his life. Stanphill’s wife battled addiction and left him for other men. You could imagine the gossip that followed him in that era. In the depths of his sadness he began to hum a tune and the next thing he knew he was singing a song. He sang about not knowing what was in the future but knowing that God was with him every step of the way. He rushed to his piano when he arrived at his office and jotted down the words.  I remember hearing Faron Young sing these lyrics on a scratchy vinyl record with my Dad.

I don’t worry o’er the future,
For I know what Jesus said.
And today I’ll walk beside Him,
For He knows what is ahead.

Many things about tomorrow
I don’t seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand.

I believe those words. I don’t know what is going to happen. I am concerned but not afraid. I put my hope not in politics but in Jesus. I know who holds tomorrow and I know who holds my hand.