Angst is one of those lovely German words that has made it into the English LexiCon. Like FLAK, Weltschmerz, EKG, Schadenfreude and Bratwurst. It is generally translated as „fear“ or „anxiety“, but in my not at all humble opinion as professional translator and holder of a Doctorate in Germanic Languages and Literatures, it would be better translated as „enduring, persistent anxiety“. Furcht? That’s the real German word for „fear“ and, jawohl, there is some overlap with Angst, but it seems to be less of a lasting mental condition. Then, there is Schrecken is „terror“, and also seems by nature temporary. No, Angst, per se et per definitionem, is constant. It’s not a jump-scare-feeling nor a life-just-flashed-before-my-eyes moment induced by a near-death experience you had while merging on the Autobahn (these are common). Angst is a predator that gnaws you and worries you when it gets its fangs in. And right now, has it ever got its fangs into the collective German psyche.
And it has a wide variety of forms. There’s Zukunftsangst (future-anxiety), Klimaangst (climate-anxiety), Abstiegssangst (anxiety about loss of socio-economic status)and Kriegsangst (war-anxiety). At least, these are the main varieties being mongered by the German Media Angst Industry. The last of the four is the most easily understandable. Kiev is only 748 miles from Berlin, and the German government has been – with significant foot-dragging and internal argument—supporting Ukraine against Russia, which leads directly to the other three fears. That anxiety about losing socio-economic status, basically a fear of immiseration and impoverishment, is the immediate offspring of the fears arising from Russia’s use of its gas exports to keep Germany from intervening too effectively in its war of conquest against its neighbor to the west. And the reason this natural gas blackmail from Czar Vladimir the Vicious and Short-Sighted is working so very well, that is the immediate offspring of that climate anxiety, which in the last decade or so, has driven the fanatical cultists of the First Church of Anthropogenic Global Warming in the German government to make increasingly irrational and dangerous decisions about the country’s energy policy. Unless those steering that ship of fools in the German capital decide to reverse course soon, there is every prospect that the Germans will be going broke while starving in the dark and freezing in the winter of 2023. The fear of the future? It flows naturally from the others: if one thinks the future only holds war, poverty and misery, then the future is not a destination one is eager to reach. The future is a constant source of anxiety and trepidation. Thinking about the future might even be something that keeps you from feeling or even seeking peace. It might even tempt you in the direction of despair.
What this means for spirit-filled Christians in the middle of Europe is that we have a gift that we need to guard in our own hearts and share with others. The verse that most immediately comes to mind for most Christians who frequent bookstores that cater to our co-religionists is almost certainly 1 Tim 1:7, that verse about God not having given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. There are other passages, as well, warning us against giving into fear or worry, not the least important one being the words Jesus himself spoke in Matthew 7:25 to 34. When our neighbors are being pursued by the spiritual forces of anxiety, we need to be bulwarks of faith, drawing on the Holy Spirit to keep us out of the jaws of those same anxieties. And the motivation has to come from the love: We don’t join our neighbors in fretting, in meditations on our anxieties and their sources. The love of God in us drives our fear, right? Or, as another John said it about 2,000 years ago (in German for clarity’s sake):
Wo die Liebe regiert, hat die Angst keinen Platz; Gottes vollkommene Liebe vertreibt jede Angst.
Where love reigns, Angst has no place; God’s perfect love drives out Angst.
Love, power and a sound mind. We dearly need to keep these facts about our spiritual reality near the forefronts of our minds in the days and weeks to come, while keeping the geo-political developments and results of international struggles in sight. We do not hide from or pretend it is not influencing our world. We must stand on love and wisdom, while not getting carried away by the spirit of Angst abroad in the land.
And about our summer plans….
We will be travelling to the U.S. next week visiting our family in Indiana and our sending ministry in Texas. More information is available only on a need to know basis. Send me a message and I’ll decide if you need to know… In the mean time keep Germany and Ukraine in your prayers. Praying for us and our ministries with Toward Jerusalem Council II Germany and Reasons to Believe. I am still looking for a German publisher for translations of Hugh Ross’s books and making plans to start a Chapter of RTB in Germany.
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