Don’t Let the Fearmongers and Doomsday Prophets Steal Your Joy
By: Al Robertson
WOW! 2020 was quite a year, wasn’t it? We knew the election was on the books for November, so we weren’t caught off guard when the whole thing erupted into a free-for-all. But who knew in January 2020 that the entire world would be shuttered because of the coronavirus pandemic? Think about how much has changed in only one year: Only 365 days ago, we didn’t know hardly anyone who wore surgical masks in public. No one was saying “just follow the science” or “China-virus.” And we surely didn’t have a single clue what “social distancing” meant, did we?
Yes, it’s been a difficult year that has brought more suffering than we see in the average 12 months. The virus and the accompanying economic hardship have been devastating to many of us. However, there is one area where the damage has been almost catastrophic, and that is in the emotional toll the last year has taken on millions of Americans.
The Centers for Disease Control reported in August that the number of people experiencing symptoms of anxiety had tripled while the number of people experiencing symptoms of depression had quadrupled. The CDC also reported that almost 63% of people 18 to 24 years old reported that they were using drugs and alcohol more to cope with the stress of the pandemic. A quarter of them said that they had seriously considered suicide in the previous thirty days. These statistics are horrible.
Another casualty of the pandemic has been that couples are discovering that their marriages are in crises in ways they never imagined possible. The BBC reports that the number of people seeking professional help for their marriage has surged since the pandemic began.
Then came the heat of the election. I mention this because politicians on both sides linked the coronavirus outbreak to their arguments about why voters should choose them rather than the other guy. Without getting into a political discussion, I don’t think anyone would disagree with me when I say that 2020 was not a harmonious year. Twenty-four hours of every day, the cable “news” shows were devoted to destroying one candidate or another. And usually, the pandemic was at the center of the discussion.
2020 was the year of fear, and it seems 2021 is going to be worse.
I’m not a sociologist, but the Almighty did bless me with a little bit of common sense. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that when we gorge our minds on negativity all day and night, it won’t be long before we are overcome with a spirit of hopelessness and despair. The truth is that all of those news sources have their own political agenda which is to destroy the opposition and promote their own candidate. All of them are doomsday prophets peddling negative desperation, and if that’s what your spiritual diet consists of, you will without a doubt be spiritually and emotionally malnourished.
I hope that you caught it when I said that these pundits on the cable shows and many of the keyboard warriors on social media are peddling desperation. Ironically, that’s exactly what Lisa and I are peddling — we are peddling desperation too. In fact, our last book was titled Desperate Forgiveness. We are all about desperation. However, unlike the majority of those stirring up the masses, we aren’t selling despair. Instead, we are trying our best to convince hurting people that there is hope to be found in a desperate search for the God who created everything and offers to pour out his mercy and grace on anyone willing to receive it. We are pleading with people who have lost all hope because of the chaos of the last year to instead seek God and to plead with him to raise us up above the hysteria and disorder of a culture stirred up by the politicians and the media who support them.
This is, by the way, why we are not wringing our hands in fear of the future. We don’t want to contract the coronavirus. We recognize the danger it poses; we have, as a matter of fact, had any number of friends and relatives who’ve either been horribly sickened by this virus or even lost their lives. And we certainly didn’t get the outcome we desired in the presidential election of 2020. No, we don’t look fondly at 2020, but we aren’t about to throw in the towel because we live our lives with one verse from scripture guiding our steps. If you want to live free of fear in 2021, here’s the key:
I put my trust.
I trust in you;
do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
No one who hopes in you
will ever be put to shame… (Psalm 25:1-3)
Don’t let the godless fear- and rumor-mongering steal your joy. You can live happily even if everything around you is falling apart. Trust God! He promises that when you do, you will never be put to shame.