Ask Chuck: The Secret to a Secure Future
I am burdened with the terrible things I hear in the news. I’ve become anxious and wake up worried in the middle of the night. I’m especially struggling with the fear of not having enough money in the future. I grew up in poverty and have worked hard to avoid that for my family. How can I feel more secure about the future in times like these?
Thank you for your honest confession. Many live in fear of their financial future but deny it and continue to silently struggle.
My father grew up in poverty as well. Like you, he worked hard to provide for his family.
We lived in a government housing project early in my life. But Dad worked long hours, went to college in the evenings, became a CPA, and made many sacrifices in an attempt to give us a secure future.
Statistics are grim and that breeds fear. Since nearly 40 million households have no retirement savings, The Employee Benefit Research Institute estimates a nationwide retirement savings deficit of $4.3 trillion. Society has instilled in us the idea that we need to make a financial plan before it’s “too late.”
People worry about job security and whether they can pay the bills. As Larry Burkett used to say, “the ‘what if’s’ will rob us of all joy.” What if I can’t afford the cost of medical services, assisted living, or help their children with a college education? What if negative interest rates happen and hurt my portfolios? What if the stock market crashes? These types of negative scenarios are endless.
Refocus your Security
Many Christians literally rob God and sometimes their families as they live in the cycle of fear and worry. The growing mania for buffering ourselves against any possible future event is straight from the deceiver. Jesus told us to build our house on rock (Himself) and not sand (the world).
Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it. (Matthew 7:24-27 ESV)
This parable points out the futility of placing our confidence in money. When our sand castle of affluence comes tumbling down – and it will – our faith had better be founded in the person of Jesus Christ – not in material security.
Symptoms of Fear of the Future
- Anxiety and sleep issues
- Unhealthy frugality
- Financial infidelity
- Marital stress
- Separation from God
- Lack of Contentment
If you suffer any of these symptoms, I must ask a simple question: Do you really trust God? Circumstances are uncertain for all of us. God designed it this way so we would learn to become dependent upon Him.
Breaking the Fear and Worry Cycle
Our thoughts impact emotions. We must choose to surrender our fear of the future each day. Otherwise, unrealistic expectations or “what-if” scenarios will cause you (or me) chronic anxiety. God is trustworthy and loves us beyond comprehension. He promises to work all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. (Romans 8:28)
- List every resource you have and transfer ownership to God, recognizing you are simply a steward.
- Align your mind and heart with God, the owner of everything.
- Embrace God’s counsel from His Word for each decision.
- Use His instead of my to bring Christ’s Lordship into the details of your life.
In Hebrews, we read of those who surrendered their will and acted on faith in God. They were rewarded by Him – but not the world.
- Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. (Hebrews 11:1-2 ESV)
- And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:6 ESV)
- And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. (Hebrews 11:39-40 ESV)
So, regardless of how well you’ve planned for the future, you must trust God with it all one day at a time.
How to Trust God
- Seek God’s direction for your life – not someone else’s.
- Make a conscious act of trusting God. Make a material commitment to express your faith by becoming more generous.
- Be patient and develop an eternal perspective.
- Pray diligently for faith to trust Him more.
- Set realistic goals
- Release the past
- Give to God first and increase your generosity
- Save more, spend less
- Establish an emergency fund – but cap it to avoid hoarding
- Pay off debt
- Write a will
- Plug into a church
- Seek Godly mentors
I pray that these simple steps are helpful to you and that they help to put your worries at ease. But most of all, I pray that as you grow to trust God more and more every day, you become deeply assured of the security that you have in Him. Trust Him to be your provider and protector through life’s uncertainties. God is faithful even if all the money is lost. Ultimately, your faith (confident trust in Him) will prove of greater worth than silver or gold.
Originally published on the Christian Post, September 27, 2019