I feel a little guilty. I’ve spent most of my life living under the reign of Pax United States. Since the end of World War Two, the USA has relentlessly built herself into the undisputed, solitary superpower of the world. This nation has never been invaded. Hitler was planning on it and the Japanese made a feeble effort of little significance but the reality is our nation is difficult to invade. So our military travels overseas to project our power and the similarity to the mighty Roman Empire at it’s zenith is hard to miss. Both economically and militarily, we rule the world. We have our fingers in nearly every economic pot, our technology transforms what ever it touches and our culture dominates every other culture. This is not to say that the world is pleased about all of this and Islam is particularly unhappy about it lately. How long can it last, this peace and power?
I have no idea. The media gives the impression that “It’s over! We are on the edge of collapse! Woe! Woe! Woe!” In the 1970’s we were faced with the imminent onset of an ice age! Now it’s warming that can only be stopped by exclusively using poisonous light bulbs. Fortunately the media itself is facing a transformation and it’s stranglehold over our fears is being snicker snacked by the vorpal blade of the world wide web. Hence, I am skeptical. Most of my fears have failed to materialize. I suspect this empire in which I live has a couple of hundred years left in it.
My youngest son is going to be driving himself this winter for the first time. Now there is something I am afraid of! I’m starting my fear early. I have visions of him driving at high speed into the back of a dump truck. Then I heard a statistician on the radio giving vent. He thought shark attacks were the stupidest, most over hyped of fears but then he discussed death by car accident. He said, if we died of no other cause and if we all drove 24/7, we could expect to live 250 years. Odds are, we are not going to die of a car accident.
So my family is safe from invasion, sharks aren’t going to eat us (it helps that there are no beaches in Alaska…we have mud beaches) and none of us drive 24/7. No reason to fear.
That doesn’t stop me. Worrying about things that statistics says won’t happen is a lifetime habit. Jesus, in Matthew 6, knew about guys like me.
Matthew 6:27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? (NASB)
Good point. Knowing this is true, though, does not seem to actually break my addiction to worry. How do I break it? Perspective helps which is where the statisticians were so useful. But I think the secret is found in something else Jesus said.
Matthew 6:33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
The antidote to worry is two things: focus each day on seeking a more significant relationship with God and take it one day at a time. Okay, take a deep breath. I can do this. One day at a time….and I stopped taking the newspaper.