Future Focused


Jacob Ricks

Wild fires. Economic uncertainty. Political unrest. Earthquakes. Pandemics.  We have experienced all of these in the last few weeks in Northern Nevada.  It very naturally leads to fear and doubt.  My heart is breaking for the people I know whose lives have been dramatically impacted by COVID and the fires in our area.  

And yet, if I am completely honest, there is a part of me that thrives on this kind of stress.  Maybe it’s my 20 years as an ER/EMS nurse – constantly training to always being ready to respond to the next disaster or emergency.  Or may be it’s my living vicariously through my almost-Eagle Scout son, internalizing the Boy Scout motto of “be prepared.”  I’ll fully admit it:  I’m a Prepper… of the kind you see on Nat Geo or Discovery Channel.  I have to give credit to my wife for bringing some balance to this in my life – she has helped me keep it to hobby instead of an obsession (my plans, for example, to build a bunker in my back yard have been repeatedly veto’d!  But I still don’t have room in my garage for two cars because of my disaster supplies!).

Kile’s message this last Sunday hit home with me.  I remember preparing for Y2K.  For the record, I always thought Harold Camping was a kook – but I absolutely gave (and still give?) credence to the various Netflix shows about apocalyptic survival (The 100 is excellent, by the way!)!  I’m a Gen Xer.  Myself, and the generations before me, have grown up being taught to “pull yourself up by the bootstraps,” to be self-sufficient, to be the proverbial “rugged American.”  This has manifested itself in my life in my Prepper-ness, among other things.  I have this innate instinct (human nature?) to prepare for whatever comes – to anticipate and mitigate all contingencies – to take care of me and mine.  But, Kile’s point was this:  The church is irresistible because even though they didn’t know what the future HELD, they know WHO held the future.  

BOOM!   The pandemic has taught me this – no matter how much I prepare physically or intellectually for a disaster, I will never be prepared enough for every contingency.  I can never think through every scenario.  I can never be completely self-sufficient.  Now, I know, that a good Prepper has a community – people they are preparing with to survive a disaster with.  If you look at LifePoint’s mission, vision, and values, you will see connection, community and care throughout.  And yet, even that is not enough – we need a Savior – we need someone who is above it all!

Psalm 121:1-2 says, “…where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Read the whole chapter!).  Not only is our Lord the MAKER of heaven and earth – he is the SUSTAINER of heaven and earth (see Colossians 1:27; Hebrews 1:3).  These verses have given me more hope than anything else in life.  God didn’t just create us and set us loose to figure it all out – he is actively involved in sustaining our world and our lives!  

When my heart is overwhelmed with the calamity all around us – when it is overwhelmed with fear and doubt and uncertainty (which is often, these days!), my go-to comfort his this: Psalm 61:2, “…when my heart is overwhelmed, take me to the Rock that is higher than .”  (Again, read the whole chapter as well as Psalm 46).  

WHO holds your future?  Is it yourself?  As appealing as I admit that is in my life, I know it is ultimately a scary prospect.  Is it your family or your job?  Your profession or skills?  I have to ask myself this regularly:  Jacob, what are you in true control of?  Not much, I have to admit.  But I trust in him who holds the future – because he created and sustains it all.

Side note:  our confidence and control issues manifest in may different ways.  For many of us, it is some form of anxiety (or anger or depression – all different sides of one coin).  Starting this fall, we have a class on anxiety on Tuesday night’s Support & Recovery focusing on what our anxiety looks like and what we can do about it.  Find out more at lifepointnv.com/events

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