I'm a bit of a superhero freak.
I'm a fan of both Marvel and D.C. and have enjoyed the recent spate of movies centered on the characters introduced to us in the comic books. I've even enjoyed the bad movies although they sometimes make me cringe.
This morning while walking, I remembered Nicholas Cage's character Johnny Blaze in the movie Ghostrider. Several times during the movie, Blaze repeats to himself, "You can't live in fear." That phrase stayed with me all during my walk as I reflected upon many of the things happening in our society right now.
"You can't live in fear."
Yet, there are more than a few people who want us to do so. In fact, I think they count on us living in fear for their livelihoods. Politicians, pundits, and the media want us to be fearful because it gives them power--either as they tell us they have the answers or as they garner ratings; thereby advertising; thereby $$.
I have yet to meet a recent media personality or politician who is willing to announce, "Don't worry folks. Things are going to be o.k. We might struggle a little bit, but there is nothing to fear. Let your anxiety be eased."
(I've stopped listening to talk radio. Sean Hannity used to say repeatedly, "Do not let your hearts be troubled." However, he would then spend the next three hours scaring the tar out of his audience by raising all sorts of things that a certain segment of society was doing to destroy America. Therefore, I'm not counting him.)
Think about just a few of the issues that have hit in recent weeks:
Gun control. How is the media and how are politicians playing this one? Are they playing with logic, reason, and sensibility? Are they trying to instill a sense of confidence in the public that violent crime and murder are actually DECLINING and have been for 30 years?
What are the arguments?
We have to control guns so that you and your children will be SAFE! (As if they aren't already pretty darn safe.)
The government is coming to take your guns! They want to disarm you so that they can control you! Registration is the first step to confiscation! Then comes fascism...then work camps...then death camps! (Yes, there is historical precedent for this, but really?)
The whole debate on guns in this country is completely fear driven, and what has been the results? More guns and more ammunition are now currently in the hands of the populace than ever. And, if you read the comments on many web links, there is now a segment of the population that is now convinced we are headed to civil war.
Now, such things might make for great political and media driven theater, but they do nothing, and I mean nothing to address the root causes of violence within our nation. In fact, it could be argued that the raising of anxiety actually increases their chances.
Second issue: the great sequester. Good Lord! If you listen to politicians, the sky is falling with this one. We'll have shortages of food. Lines at airports will increase exponentially. Thousands of teachers will be laid off. One politician even said that 170 million jobs would be lost. However, in some damage control, they tried to play around with that number first taking it to 750,000 and then 170,000. (Did you know that 95% of the statistics cited on the internet are false? Sorry, pulled that from a Facebook post I saw once.)
Oh, and I'm not done with the sequester deal either. Because of it and the cuts in spending at the Pentagon, we are now much less safe. Our borders will be less secure. Terrorists will now have the upper hand. Our troops will not be funded. We will be at the mercy of our enemies.
How about not.
Interestingly enough, once the executive order was signed, some of the rhetoric changed. The Commander in Chief actually said, "We will get through this. This isn't some sort of Armageddon." That could have been said all along, but that just wasn't the case, now, was it?
These are just two issues. Thinking back to last year's presidential election, much of the rhetoric centered on how bad each candidate would be for the nation and how this was the most important election ever. Depending upon which side of the political aisle one sat, one heard about how we were either going to re-elect Satan or replace the President with the Devil.
Come on. Give me a break. Is this reality?
No. Absolutely not.
"You can't live in fear."
And so, what can you live in?
As a Christian, I live in hope.
It's a far different place to live in compared to fear.
It's rooted and grounded in the promises of God through Jesus Christ. Even death has no power over Him.
It doesn't matter what happens in the world.* What politician is elected. Whether or not gun control is enacted. Whether or not sequestration takes the full effect. Christians do not live in fear. They rest secure in God's promises. Hope reigns eternal.
*When I say this, I certainly do not mean that Christians don't give a care as to what happens in the world. Certainly, we are to work in the world to see that God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Exactly how that plays out is often tricky and requires much discernment on our parts.