Frank Furedi documented an increasing use of fear in the media by counting the appearances of the term at risk in British newspapers. In 1994 the term appeared 2,037 times. By the end of the next year, the total had doubled. It increased by half in 1996. During the year 2000 at risk was printed more than eighteen thousand times. (1)
Has world danger really increased ninefold in six years or has fear begun to run amuck? For the first time since the end of the Second World War, parents expect that life for the next generation will be worse than it was for them. (2)
Reporter Bob Garfield tracked health articles in major publications and discovered that, among other health issues:
- 59 million Americans have heart disease,
- 53 million Americans have migraines,
- 25 million Americans have osteoporosis,
- 16 million struggle with obesity,
- 3 million have cancer,
- 2 million have severe brain disorders.
Reportedly, in total, 543 million Americans consider themselves to be seriously sick, a troubling figure since there are only 266 million people in the country. As Garfield noted, “Either as a society we are doomed, or someone is seriously double-dipping.” (3)
What about we who profess Jesus as Lord? Will we give in to this doomsday mentality or will we turn to our Maker, and because we do, fear less? As Max Lucado puts it:
“Courage does not panic; it prays. Courage does not bemoan; it believes. Courage does not languish; it listens. It listens to the voice of God calling through Scripture, ‘Fear not!’“
Which voice will we listen to?
PS – Join us this Sunday at Hagerstown Congregational as we wrap up our Fearless series.
(1) Frank Furedi, Culture of Fear Revisited, xviii
(2) Ibid., 68
(3) John Ortberg, If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat, 132