“But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.
He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”
— Jeremiah 17:7–8 NIV
Shohoiya Yokowai spent 28 years of his life in prison. It was not a prison of bars and locks and wardens, but a self-imposed prison of fear. He was a Japanese soldier on the island of Guam during World War II. When the American forces landed, he fled into the jungle and found a cave that he hid in because he was afraid of being captured by the Americans.
He learned later that the war was over by reading one of the thousands of pamphlets dropped into the jungle, but he was afraid. So for 28 years, he chose to live in the cave, coming out only to hunt for the food on which he survived. Finally, some natives found him and convinced him to come out of his jungle prison because the war really was over.
Some of you are thinking, “What an idiot! Imagine spending 28 years living as a prisoner because you were scared.” But let’s be honest here. When life feels out of control, some of us have the habit of living in fear of the worst case scenario, just like our friend in the jungle.
If you are going to endure the highs and lows of this life, then you have to believe God more than you believe your circumstances. Truth is not determined by the details of your circumstances, your personal experiences, or your feelings. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but truth does not originate from you at all.
The deepest issue of the human struggle is not the pain and suffering we sometimes endure (or the joy and goodness we experience, for that matter). The deepest issue of the human struggle is the issue of worship. What really controls my heart? This is important because what controls our hearts will determine the way we respond to both pain and chaos.
Today, discipline your heart to be full of worship. Discipline your mind to focus on God’s word and his promises. These are promises you can trust and have confidence in. These are promises that remove doubt and fear.