JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska —
The "Chaplain's Corner" offers perspectives to enhance spiritual/religious resiliency in support of Air Force and Army Comprehensive Fitness programs.
Comments regarding specific beliefs, practices, or behaviors are strictly those of the author and do not convey endorsement by the U.S. government, the Department of Defense, the Army, the Air Force, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, or the 673d Air Base Wing.
A recent Gallup poll said Americans are not very concerned with global warming; in fact, fewer than fifty percent of Americans are greatly concerned with any environmental issue at all.
This is a significant drop from five or ten years ago, when more than half the country was very concerned about 'green' issues.
Much has changed in that time. Our economy is still struggling; we hear about constant war in countries we have devoted lives and dollars to secure and our culture seems to be slipping away from fulfillment even as we strive after it more and more.
The dismay and disappointment can sometimes feel almost palpable.
Is not our culture more educated, more advanced, more civilized than in the 1940s and 1950s? It is easy to look back to some golden era in which we think life was grand and everything was easy. The reality is no generation is without its hardships; every decade brings some new fear, some worry, that drives people to irrational action and taints the world we live in.
Economic woes have hit the 30s, 70s, and 80s, even as they hit us now. No decade has been without significant wars, whether one large conflict, or multiple small-scale entanglements. We have been afraid of Y2K, the red scare, nuclear holocaust, civil strife, global warming, and a host of other terrifying scenarios. All these issues are important, and we should all be concerned with the threats that exist today, but we should not let concern drive us into pessimism and depression.
In our current culture it is easy to insulate ourselves from many of these fears and worries. We have faster internet, more advanced phones, efficient automobiles, hundreds of high-definition television channels and opportunities for fun and relaxation only emperors could have managed a century ago. But none of this has driven the fear from our lives. We still remain very worried about ISIS, recession, Iran's nuclear program, and petroleum to fuel our daily lives.
It can be disheartening to feel that the world is spinning out of control and that there is nothing one can do to alter the centrifugal force that drives everything away from the center and sends it all spinning away into oblivion. It is a dark and dreary way to live, yet so many choose it because they have no confidence that things can be any different than they are.
The world, however, is different than it appears. Iran is still pursuing nuclear weapons, our economy is still in the pits, and wars are still raging despite our best efforts. Those things are not different, they really are shaping the world we live in. But there is a different perspective on this world that brings hope and comfort in the midst of the chaos and instability.
Jesus said there would be all sorts of trouble in the world; he said things were going to get very bad, especially for his followers, but those who turn to him should not fear. Jesus said he loves the world, and that he has everything under control whether it seems that way to us or not.
That love, according to Jesus, drives out fear and fills one with peace in the face of the tumult of the world.
Peace is something nearly everyone says they want, but no one seems to be able to get it. Perhaps it is because we are going about it the wrong way. We think our advances and our technology, our reason and our sophistication, will bring peace to the chaos and fear that we experience, but it continues to elude us.
Perhaps our fear and worry is because we think we must fix the mess that we have made. Jesus tells us otherwise.
If you are feeling crushed by the fear and worry that pervade our lives, consider this: you are loved by a person who defeated all of those fears and says if you trust him, however bad things may look, you will have peace knowing that it will turn out alright.