When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
When you wake up, is this how you feel?
I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows that things are bad.
Howard Beale - Network
People are more negative and depressed than at any other time in modern history. Everybody not just thinks but knows that things are worse now than they were a couple years ago.
There seems to be nothing but negative news and information. The internet and social media are overflowing with anger and venom. The once neutral news is now slanted to mirror the owner’s political views. Education is not offering any answers.
While we may have more modern technology and faster communication, our time is not all that different from the days of Jesus. Even though there was one overwhelmingly powerful government, Rome, there were still lots of local and regional unrest. The news and the rumor mill were filled with information about conflict.
On the political and economic fronts, nothing was settled. Nothing was consistent. There was lots of political unrest caused by many different political parties with lots of different ideas about how to run the world.
And when it came to the natural world around them, there were lots of calamaties. Famines and earthquakes disrupted government, cities, towns, families.
Jesus isn’t warning about something that’s coming in the future. It was happening right then and there. Not only were all these events taking place all around them, but they were already frightened. The people were already, actively being troubled and anxious. Jesus is saying to them, stop being troubled.
And Jesus is saying the exact same thing today to you and me. We are to stop being anxious. Stop being troubled. Stop being worried. Stop being unsettled, Stop being thrown around. Stop being confused. Stop being terrified. Stop being alarmed.
When I read the words I just wrote, I want to ask myself, “Are you out of your mind? Don’t you know what’s going on? Can’t you see how terrible things are? And there’s no plan or power in place to change things.”
When Jesus told his followers not to be troubled, they had no political power. No financial backing. No internet connection. No great army of influencers. Yet, he tells them not to be troubled.
You may have some political power, you can vote. You may have some financial resources, after all you have a credit card and can rack up some debt at the drop of a hat. You may have an army of social media “friends” that you can call into action.
But even if we have these and more, that won’t answer the more basic question. It won’t relieve the underlying tension, anger, resentment, bitterness. The undertow of our troubled world will drag us out to sea, only to be drowned in the overwhelming flood of anxiety.
But there’s a better way. Rather than try and fix ourselves and the world around us, Jesus says that if we trust him, that he will take care of us. Provide for us. Nurture us. Calm us.
But for Jesus to do this, we have to come to him and give up our rights. Our right to be right. Our right to be in charge. Our right to have a comfortable life. Our right to the kind of life we deserve.
Because we’re people, we’re going to do nothing but make things worse. Both politically, socially, financially, morally. We don’t have the resources or power to change from within. That power comes from our maker and redeemer, God alone.
When you give him his rightful place as being in charge of life, that’s the start of a beautiful transformation. How are you doing with that?
· Have you had that initial conversation with God where you raised your white flag of surrender to him?
· Are you currently on the road of walking with him, letting him speak to you and guide you every day?
· Are you believing that he’s in control even when your life falls off the rails?
That’s the kind of God he is. And that’s the kind of relationship we’re made for.