I have a confession to make. I'm a false prophet. How about you? Are you one too? Be careful how you answer that. All of us are. All of us are false prophets because all of us are worriers. It's just that some of us are experts in the field. We're professional worriers ... accomplished in the area of anxiety. And this makes us false prophets. As Ed Welch says in his book, Running Scared, "Worriers are false prophets ... they show their irrationality in their success rate; they are always wrong, at least in the specifics ... They are visionaries minus the optimism."
Can you relate? More and more, we are becoming a generation of people who live in the future. We are constantly coming up with future scenarios that never turn out the way we imagine. We think the worst about tomorrow but it never pans out the way we expected. And so we live in fear as false prophets.
I'm only halfway into Welch's book, but already God has used it to pierce my anxious heart. Welch encourages us to listen to our fears because they are speaking to us about the condition of our hearts. What we fear or what we get anxious about reveals what we trust and love. For example, if you love the approval of others, you will worry about how you are perceived or if people will criticize you. Consequently, your interactions with others become selfish and inward. Or if you love money, you will get anxious when your bank account is headed down rather than up.
Welch encourages us to expose the fears that lie within us. However, he doesn't stop there. He reminds us that as we discover those things that make us anxious, we must direct our eyes away from ourselves and onto the God who cares for us. He reminds us that God is our Father and our King. Because he is our Father, we can know that He loves us deeply and promises to care for us continually. And because he is our King, he is strong enough to rule over our lives for his glory and our good. But he is more. He is also generous. God is a generous Father and King who delights to give us mercy as we trust in him.
Yes, I'm a false prophet. And as the title of the book says, I can often feel like I'm "running scared." But in Christ, I'm not a false prophet. In Christ, I'm a true child of the King. I don't have to run scared. I can rest safely. I can rest in the arms of my great God. I can turn my eyes away from me and onto my Father and King. Because there I find security and strength in midst of anxiety and fear. And there I am humbled to listen to his voice that overrules what I feel inside.