Looking for positivity? Gotta be there somewhere, right? “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” If we’re being honest with ourselves, sometimes even the assurances from Jesus’ lips (John 16:33), words meant to comfort, don’t quite overpower the concerns, fears and disappointments the world thrusts at us.
The TV, radio and even the streets today are overrun with biased soundbites, hate speech, and scenes that tear your heart out. (Oh, did I omit social media? I’m not a glutton for punishment) The anger and violence used to be things we witnessed from afar.This was 3rd world stuff. It has come home to roost. If you are old enough to remember, the 50’s were a mellow time. The birth of rock and roll. Post-war. Grateful to be secure. Soldiers, then with gratitude considered to be noble warriors, home safely with their families and building family and country.
But wait. The sounds that began coming out of the folk music of the 50’s began as a prophetic candle and grew to a blaze as the 60’s began to unfold and the songs were much more direct and confrontational. Protest isn’t new. Those old enough to have lived through the 60’s well remember the campus and city protests, complete with violence. Americans have now refined protest and violence to an art and its spread is endless. There was lament and prophecy in the music of that time. Don’t believe me? Listen more closely to songs like Blowin’ in the Wind or The Times, They are a Changin’. There was a clear message to the song Where Have All the Flowers Gone? The tag line was “When will they ever learn?” Remember that? (Want something from the 60’s to stir you? Consider “For What It’s Worth” or “Eve of Destruction.”)
Over these past 60+ years, a lifetime for many of us, we have witnessed a steady but intermittent stream of tragedy which was often precipitated by evil acts and followed by violence. Most of the discord has been prompted by issues like civil rights, war, poverty, the women’s movement and the environment. It’s 2020, “when will we ever learn?” As Christians, we should be the least surprised at the state of the world. We witness kingdoms in conflict, and the prince of the power of the air has great sway in the affairs of men on this planet. For a time.
It can be very easy to be distracted and discouraged and disappointed at the state of affairs we are witnessing. There is a spiritual war being waged, and one could wonder where God is amidst the strife. He is not unmindful of any of it. He is not rescuing. Perhaps he is saying look at the state of regenerate hearts. I am no prophet. But I am assured that knowing the hard times we face – – – and will face, he inspired his New Testament writers to direct us, challenging as it may be, to set our hearts and our minds on the things above, not on the things of this earth. (Col. 3:2) This takes effort, doesn’t it? We were not told to stick our heads in the sand and pretend the evil and warfare are not there, but to look with concern and compassion, trusting God’s mighty sovereignty and observe what life apart from him leads to.
The things of this earth are transient. This doesn’t lessen the sting, but this is not our eternal concern. Even amongst this terrible discord and violent disregard for the dignity of man, all of whom were created in God’s image, we can wrestle for rest knowing God is doing something of eternal purpose within the smoke and confusion of the world’s conflict. While we may not always be successful as ambassadors of peace as we proclaim to this broken world that there is restoration through Christ, we must persevere because we possess the true hope. Our salvation, our Savior, guarantees us eventual freedom and a place where there will be no strife, no tears, no evil, no anxiety and no tears. People need to know this is possible. We are called to be messengers of this hope. Let’s look like it. Act like it. Talk like it.
Friends, God is in the details. He knows when a sparrow falls to the earth, knows the number of hairs on our heads and knows how many heartbeats he has allotted us from the womb until we are present with him. The security he promises us is that whether we “feel”him or not, he is with us through all things and certainly in times of trouble. Why, because you are his child. His precious possession. I encourage you to do two things: Like never before, I urge you to rest in the shelter of God’s word. “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart. I have overcome the world!” And act like you trust God, even though your feelings are out of sync. Think About It.