In 2012 you will have the opportunity to be scared out of your mind. This year there are three Friday the 13th calendar dates, the most any year can hold.
As you could probably guess, I am not one who holds to superstitions for dates. The only date that really concerns me is the one that keeps pushing me toward the four-decade mark.
For debatable reasons, Friday the 13th has just come to be synonymous with horrible, no-good, very bad days generating unexplainable fear and anxiety. I'd have to contend, though, that the greatest cause of fear in our lives is not a particular date. The greatest fear is the fear of the unknown.
In the New Testament letter of Philippians, Paul is in a troubled situation. Trouble is a lot like Missouri weather. If you don't like it, just wait, it will change. So while you may not be in trouble now, just wait, it will change.
When Paul wrote this letter, his trouble was being imprisoned for living and sharing his Christian faith.
I have never been in prison. I can only think that being in prison is not a good situation. When you read his letter you get the impression that he didn't know if he was going to get out or die while in prison. His future is completely unknown.
Facing overwhelming circumstances that are completely out of your control and have an unknown ending can be absolutely overwhelming.
Depression and discouragement can run rampant when you feel like your future is not in your hands, and no matter what you do your preferred future will be affected little, if at all.
Paul, loosely paraphrased, writes, "I may never get out of here, but with your prayers and the power of Jesus it's all going to work out."
When we base our identity upon our conditions we will always be disappointed. But when we find our identity outside ourselves -- for Christians in particular, that is in the person of Jesus -- we find an identity that endures, even in the fear of the unknown.
He also says that there are people supporting him. While he may sit in solitude, he is not alone.
The unknown can be faced when surrounded by people who support you. The unknown can be stared down when you trust in God, who calls the unknown by name.
Rob Hurtgen is a husband, father, minister and writer. Read more from him at www.robhurtgen.wordpress.com.