Last week we witnessed in our Capitol something that has left us breathless. We’ve seen many horrible events in the tapestry of our nation’s history during the past century—wars, assassinations, and terrorist attacks. January 6th, 2021 can now be added to that infamous list.
There is no need to add to the rhetoric that now fill the airwaves of the world and every corner of cyberspace. The reality that our nation’s democracy is under siege is evident. The trauma and fear associated with that day linger on after experiencing the event “real time” on our screens. I daily ask Jesus to remove those terrifying images from my brain.
But I come today with a message of encouragement and hope from the God who sees and Who is in complete control of what appears to be “out of control.”
Keep Your Eye of God
It is important during these troubling times to keep our eyes on the Lord. As believers, we are aware that in this world we will have tribulation and trials (John 16:33). But we are also reminded to take heart because Jesus has overcome the world. One writer reminded me, “it is the tension between ‘overcome’ and ‘taking heart’ that cause us problems.”
Our trust in the Lord is not the result of positive thinking or some new age approach to stress management. Brian Morykno with Renovaré encourages believers during fearful times to follow King David’s example of magnification.
Imagine David, with the war cry of enemies rising all around, settled of soul and unafraid. How was that possible? It’s not that David was out of touch with reality; he was in touch with it. David understood magnification. He knew that what we dwell upon becomes large in our spiritual field of vision. And David dwelled upon God (Ps. 95:3-5).
Our reality is this. God is sovereign and is moving forward with His plan of salvation. God is not the cause of riots and rebellions like we experienced last week. Such events come from “heart issue” of sinful men (James 3:16-18) and the work of Satan (Eph. 6:12; John 10:10).
For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.
A Plan for These Times
To help us move through these times, I offer this, three (3) prong approach to help us navigate through these difficult times.
Prayer. This should be our first response to the troubles we face. We are told to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17). The reason for this mandate is because our prayers connect us directly to God—the Power Source who can resolve our dilemma. The “only wise God” (Rom. 16:27) is there to guide and direct our steps, comfort our heart, and ease our stress (Phil. 4:6-7).
Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. (Romans 12:12)
Practice the Presence of God. We are never alone regardless of the situation we face. He alone can make good on His promise that He will “never leave nor forsake us” (Gen. 28:15). He is ever-present. Regardless of external appearances, God is with us even amid our trouble.
Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. (Ps. 139:7-8)
Praise. Yes, I said praise. Why? Because it is the quickest way to experience the presence of God (Ps. 22:3). Ruth Meyer, author of the book, 31 Days of Praise, offers this insight on the power of praise.
As you praise and pray, you make your circumstances and your life a test tube that demonstrates the existence of a personal God, a God who is present and involved and who controls the natural Universe. It turns your attention to spiritual and eternal values versus the pleasures and success mentality of our age, which resists all pain and discomfort and delay.
A Message for Fearful Times
As we continue our walk of faith, we will be faced with trials. Although these may be difficult, we have the blessed assurance that we are not in these things alone. Neither are we powerless.
Political and social upheaval will continue as long as man leans on his own understanding (Prov. 3:5-7). I don’t know how these tumultuous times will end but I do know that God has the final word (Ps. 119:89-91). God is and will continue to be the Creator and Sustainer of all things (Col. 1:16).