By Dr. John Ed Mathison
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries
We are moving into a new year – 2016. Highly reputable polls, surveys, and news reports paint a pessimistic picture of gloom hovering over us. People are scared, confused, and unsure about issues like terrorism, the economy, politics, etc. 83% of voters fear there will be a large-scale terrorist attack in the U.S. in the near future.
60% think it’s likely that terrorists are living in their hometown. In 2015 we witnessed 351 mass shootings in the U.S. A mass shooting is defined as incidences in which four or more people, including the gunman, are killed or injured by gunfire.
Following the shootings in San Bernadino, CA. the New York Times invited people to respond. Over 5,000 did immediately. Some war veterans said that they felt safer in war zones that on the streets of America. Others indicated fear whenever they see a woman reach into a pocketbook or a man checking the time on his wristwatch. Many said they would not attend large public gatherings. 59% believe the economy is doing poorly. 69% of Americans think the nation is on the wrong track. 47% say that their family is scraping by, making only enough to pay bills and obligations. 56% believe most children in the U.S. will grow up to be worse off than their parents.
In 2015 we learned a lot more things are not good for us. Shift work can be unhealthy and increase the risk of heart disease, obesity, and metabolic disorder. Injuries involving women wearing high-heeled footwear doubled in the U. S. between 2002 and 2012. Dietary supplements were responsible for 2,100 hospital admissions in the U.S. last year. Belly fat is linked to a buildup of deep visceral fat that wraps around internal organs, increasing the risk for heart attack, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. We are told to worry about waist loss as much as weight loss.
I suggest a word for us for 2016 – FORWARD. It may be a pessimistic picture of gloom, as we enter 2016, but let’s move forward! Going backwards will usually get us into trouble. Going forward opens up possibilities of what God can do.
When the 12 spies went to scout the Promised Land, 10 reported that it was occupied by giants and would be impossible to enter. Caleb interrupted them and declared “Let’s go forward and take the land. We can do it!” (Numbers 13:30)
I have a choice of focusing on the rear-view mirror in my car or the front windshield. The mirror sees what is behind me. The windshield sees what is in front. My windshield is 100 times larger than my rear-view mirror. I need to spend 100 times more time looking forward than backwards! My car has several gears. Only one is for reverse to go backwards. There are several gears to help me go forward.
Keep going forward.
Helen Keller once said, “If we keep our eyes focused forward on the sunshine, we will never see our shadow behind us.” If our memories ever exceed our dreams – we are in trouble! Going forward focuses on faith. Looking back creates fear. We have a choice to choose fear or faith. Fear paralyzes – Faith sets us free. Fear takes us backwards, Faith takes us forward.
Ecclesiastes 11:13 says, “If you wait for perfect conditions you will never get anything done.” Job said, “The righteous keep moving forward.” (Job 17:9) Paul said, “I focus on this one thing forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.” (Philippians 3:13)