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A Devotional by Sylvan A. Lashley
University of the Southern Caribbean
April 9, 2016Scripture Setting: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with Thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”
We live in an age of economic uncertainty and lack of predictability and increasing personal and social insecurity. Recent events in Trinidad/Tobago point to such uncertainty, with the recent hike in petroleum at the fuel pump, taxes on online shopping, increased taxes on alcohol, cigarettes and luxury cars and the implications of a higher resultant cost of living. Champagne tastes and mauby money represents the colloquialism by which the present scenario has been described in some places. Several reading this missive, won’t be directly affected by the increase consumption taxes on some of the items, but higher costs on food items and inflation will be the result of the removal of gasoline and diesel subsidies. Such events can give rise to organizational and personal uncertainty as persons grapple with the impact of a higher cost of living and a lower value in the paycheck.
The best news is that the Christian has a higher hope, yet even in the staunchest Christian there might remain some lingering apprehension about the portentous times ahead. Research suggests that there is a certain anxiety level that is a corollary to uncertainty. A team of researchers in Quebec (Douglas, 1994) developed the “Intolerance of Uncertainty Scale (IUS), the degree to which people seek out and desire predictability. High levels of IU were linked to anxiety disorders and to more worry and to brain processes such as “emotional regulation, threat detection and safety detection (Nature Reviews in Neuroscience, 2013), centered in the pre-frontal cortex.
Yet, there is an antidote prescribed in Scripture—“Do not be anxious about anything” (Phil 4:6-7); “cast all your cares upon Him” (1 Peter 5:7); “do not be anxious about what you will eat or what you will drink…” (Matt 6:25-34); “for I know the plans that I have for you…” (Jer 29:11); “trust in the Lord with all of your heart…” (Proverbs 3:5- 6); “cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you (Psalm 55:2); “He will not let your foot be moved for He who keeps you will not slumber…” (Psalm 121:3-8); “he who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty”. How then shall we live, act, plan and implement? We have an antidote—a daily connection, a faith full of action. We are forewarned, forearmed, pre-muscled and strengthened. What about you? What is our uncertainty and anxiety index in our lives, schools and churches? We are prone to cut back and reduce. Are these not logical and rational matters where we count the costs, or shall we act on another level, where despite the costs, we expand our efforts, by faith, to preach the gospel in our schools, and churches. That is the question of the hour--you tell me now