Be afraid… Be very afraid…
Here’s an alternative.
Last year, it was hurricanes, high gas prices, and avian flu– even pillows. In 2005, it was a shortage of flu vaccine. In 2004, it was Mad Cow disease and E coli. Now, it’s global warming AND a coming ice age– both at once it seems. And of course there’s always the constant fear of another large-scale terrorist attack on US soil.
All of this anxiety highlights, not the dangers of modern American life, but a lack of perspective…
And more importantly, a lack of gratitude.
We have the safest food supply in the world and the best medical care. Despite the publicity, terror takes a surprisingly small toll on lives. In 2001, the year of the WTC collapse, only about 4000 people died in terror attacks worldwide and that includes the almost 3000 who died at Trade Center. Although the 2001 worldwide figure was much higher than normal, more than ten times that number die each year just on U.S. highways.
California Dept. of Transportation Photo
These comparisons show that our problem is not a lack of safety, but a failure to recognize just how well-off we really are. In comparison to other times and places, the very least of us live lives of tremendous affluence– so much affluence that we have time to indulge ourselves with worry over the most trivial threats.
The answer is to renew our minds. Instead of indulging our fears, let’s splurge in a different direction. Let’s spend our free time, not in anxiety, but in gratitude for all the good things God has given us. Feelings of thankfulness are the best way to cope with the problems and stress. Gratitude overcomes depression and tension. Thankfulness fosters energy and optimism.
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thess 5:16-18).