Meaningful Monday: Times Like These
Killer virus. Global pandemic. Mass casualties. Illness. Corruption. Government interference. Hate. Racism. Violent protests. Cities burning. Division. Ignorance. Censorship. Food shortages. Hurricanes. Forest fires. Climate change. Social injustice. Inequality. Neighbor against neighbor. Brother against brother. Conspiracy. Slavery. Kidnapping. Media propaganda. Pushed narratives. Political turmoil. War.
These are words from headlines from within the US and from around the world. These are headlines we have grown used to over time, but in 2020, they are so prevalent it is easy to understand why depression, anxiety, self-pity, and suicide is taking hold of people. It is easy to see the writing on the wall, and to draw all sorts of negative connotations from these "signs of the times." It is easy, even for Christians, to lose hope and to lose sight of where we draw our peace from.
How easy it is for our frail human spirits to forget all that our faith resides on: Solid rock. Our firm foundation. God Himself. We did not find our faith in our democracy. We did not find salvation in our government, or our President. We did not find mercy in our communities. We did not find hope in our hospitals or medical experts. We did not find comfort in our careers, or our education.
Our faith comes from God. Our salvation comes from Jesus Christ.
When we live in abundance, we very often forget the promise of struggle we will face because of our faith. We find it easy to pray and worship and be thankful, but we no longer have to put our faith into active practice. We do not feel as though we are being tested. But as soon as struggles arise, our frailty falls into doubt, hopelessness, even despair, and we cry the loudest, for all the world to hear, where is God in all this?
Open your eyes. Open your ears. Open your heart. God never left us. We left Him for the things of this world. We left Him for promises of freedom, for comfort, for security, for financial gain.
When we lose our hope, we also lose our ability to be gracious and merciful to the people around us. We see this in this times of struggle. Christians lashing out in anger and hate in retaliation to a world that is increasingly aggressive toward us. Instead of reflecting Jesus' love, we have taken to not just sharing our viewpoints, our perspectives, and our faith, we have gone over to the point of name calling, of vilifying, of stereotyping, of reacting, of warring, and then of hopelessness and apathy.
We lose hope and we forget to love. We forget that we can fight for what we believe in by loving the person we feel is doing us wrong. We forget that nothing has power over us except our God, unless we allow something else to have power over us whether it be our government, our community, our social media, our political ideas, even ourselves.
Jesus tells us in John 14:25-27 - "These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
He goes on to tell us in John 15:18 that "if the world hates you, you know that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you."
Then he reminds us in John 16:33 - "These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
From our Savior, who walked among us, who knew reason to be fearful from infancy into adulthood, who experienced the blessing of a loving family and devoted friends, who also experienced continual pressure to conform to cultural demands, who also experienced ridicule and condemnation for speaking out against unGodliness, who experienced temptation and promise of earthly comfort, who also experienced violence and pain and suffering to the point of death - He KNEW what we would face in this world, and He walked it ahead of us to light the way for us. He spoke love. He reacted with mercy. He fought with truth. He suffered and sacrificed himself for us, and even on the point of death, he called out for mercy and forgiveness for the people who hurt Him rather than calling for justice.
Let's repeat that - Jesus called on God's forgiveness for the people who put Him on that cross rather than calling for God's justice. Please let that sink in.
Times like these require us to hit our knees more than ever before. Not that we pray for our country to miraculously become a "Christian" nation once more. Not that we pray for the rioters, and media, and politicians to suddenly change their destructive ways and bring peace once more to our nation (and the world). When we hit our knees, we need to be praying for our role in this world as Christians. We need to pray that we are reacting in love- that we are finding peace in our God, not placing it in the hands of a failing government, or financial security, or a fine education, or a social cause. We need to be praying that He helps us guard our tongues, that He stills our hearts, that He helps us focus on eternity, not the things of this world that will pass away.
None of these tribulations will last. Our God promises us that. We may not see earthly peace in our lifetime, but we already experience eternal peace, and that should cause us to shine like beacons in the raging world around us.
For as James 3:17-18 tells us, "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace."
Let us return to the peace of our Father in Heaven, of our Lord Jesus Christ, of our Holy Spirit. Let us delve deeper into the truth of our Bible and commit its wisdom to our hearts and our minds to renew His perfect and complete peace within us. Let us sincerely pray for His Will for us as examples of peace, love, and mercy to the world even as it seeks to destroy us and the things we hold dear.
More on God's peace:
1 Peter 5:8-11
*Thank you for visiting Great Is His Faithfulness and this Meaningful Monday series. If you have a story you would like to share that displays how the Lord has been active (faithful) in your life, please contact me at email@example.com. Please put "Submission request" in the subject line. Your experience could be featured as part of this blog series to help bring hope to someone else.