A world on fire. Massively divisive political posturing. Constantly eroding moral ground. And on top of it all a viral pandemic is sweeping the globe. There is no shortage of blame, no shortage of fear, and no shortage of greed. The world is on fire.
Our broken world is subject to disease, violence, hunger and oppression. Ever since Adam & Eve made their choice in the Garden, those effects have played out in individuals lives, humanity and all of creation. Romans 8:21 (NIV) tells us that all of creation is in “bondage to decay.” Suffering it would seem, is as natural in this world as breathing. Yet, hope remains.
John 16:33 (NLT)
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
As believers our hope is in God, in the future he has planned and promised us. But that hope needs to work it’s way into our everyday present lives as well. We have a responsibility, as those who hold the hope and light in an ever darkening world, to hold our torches high and let that light burn brightly as a beacon for all to see. Our response to situations that are ripe with fear should not be based on what if’s and what could be, but on who God is and what he has promised to us.
Our response to suffering and adversity should look like this.
Realize God’s grace is enough
2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT)
“Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”
Our natural response to the unknown is to fear it, dread it, and to try and do everything to hold it at bay. It is in our weakness that God’s power is most evident in our lives.
Know that God is there to listen and respond to us.
Psalm 9:9-10 (NLT)
“The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed,
a refuge in times of trouble.
Those who know your name trust in you,
for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you.”
God may already know your fears, your anxieties… share them with him anyway. He is your place of shelter, protection, and safety. The world may be in chaos, but our Heavenly Father is steady. While we shelter in place, don’t forget to shelter in God.
God has given us help, so that we may help others.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NLT)
“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”
Holding on to hope is selfish. We are dealers of hope. What we have received, we are meant to share. Check in on your neighbors, your family, your co-workers – use your phone and talk to people. Be light, be the hope, be the church.
Do we face uncertainty right now? Yes. Is everything changing faster than we can cope. Yes. Does fear have to rule our hearts and direct our lives? No.
Be wise, be safe, be smart, yes, be all of those things. We may have to practice social distancing, but we have an opportunity to practice spiritual closeness with God.
I leave you with this.
Psalm 34:4 (NLT)
I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
He freed me from all my fears.