Do you believe being a Christian means you know how to respond to everything that comes your way? Living in the world today when what is wrong is made to seem right and what is right seems wrong, troubles and terrible things happening can steal inner peace and perspective. What are we to do? Should we stay silent or stand up for Jesus when His ways are mocked by the highest law in the land? Could we possibly stand firm in faith when many people prefer safety of neutrality? That’s the ultimate of lukewarm living which makes God sick. Is peace possible in these troubled times? Does fear paralyze when problems could be solved if people would unite in Christian love and leadership? Troubles are brewing in every crack and corner of every country across the planet. Where is peace to be found?
God sent and sacrificed His Son for our salvation, for a relationship with Him, and to bring peace to the world. Jesus surely knew how complex and confusing things would be and that being a Christian would not mean we have all the answers. He explained this to his followers in John 16:33, “I told you these things so that you can have peace in me. In this world you will have trouble, but be brave! I have defeated the world.”
Watching the weather forecast is something I do daily. How about you? Feeling prepared for rain, wind, or extreme heat brings peace as I head out the door and head to work at Tim’s Gift or The Learning Station.
Can you picture Jesus being the weather forecaster giving the seven day outlook. It’s trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble, and trouble! In other words, the forecast for life here on earth is trouble. Reality comes in two real sentences joined by a conjunction; God is loving, big, and powerful, but we live in a world that seems to be falling apart.
Okay, so what’s happening today that sounds the alarm? We have dishonored and disobeyed God. Biblical principles are challenged and changed to appease those who oppose God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost and teachings from the Bible. One woman took a stand and prayer was banned from public schools. Can one person stand firm today and be instrumental in reversing that decision?
Trust has been tarnished to the point that we know not whom to believe! Leaders of our nation are in perilous positions. Economic and political woes weaken our worldly influence. Families are under attack by Satan. Newscasts portray the ugliness of a few who do not do things right but fail to share scenes of those who are doing right in our communities and country.
The Charleston incident proves that problems, violence, ugliness of sin (when people react in hatred and hatefulness) makes front page headlines and nightly news that is played over and over and over again. The horrific scene of precious people gathered to pray being shot at close range rang across our nation like wildfire. What would happen with all the troubles that would come from this terrible tragedy? What happened was people of a church, other churches, communities, a city called Charleston rose above the trouble and embraced the reality of the message on bracelets most of us wore years ago…What Would Jesus Do? They turned their troubles over to Jesus and showed our nation the example of living the word Jesus shared in John 16:33. They did not have all the answers of what a church, community, or city should do when precious people were killed while praying; yet, they did not allow prejudice, hatred, or violence cause them to take their eyes off Jesus. They embraced Christian love, forgiveness, and unity for all God’s children to see in living color. They marched peacefully across bridges to their churches with a message of forgiveness. Their witness to the world showed the power of God’s love, that He is the answer to peace!
Alas… scenes from Charleston and other places where love and unity among people willing to forgive and walk in faith to the peace that comes from Jesus have not been shown over and over and over again. Shame on those who make decisions to portray the ugliness of our nation with little prime time or any other time given to show the good things happening all across America. Newscasts, newspaper stories, radio broadcasts, and other mean of communication that reach all corners of our world should put more focus on spreading the good news and stop featuring the troubles that plague our planet.
So, how do you respond to everything that comes your way? Troubles are everywhere, even in our own backyard. We can be angry and point fingers of judgment for laws passed and positions taken on issues that cause us to gasp in utter disbelief, or we can disagree in love and pray for God to convict hearts and change things that go against Biblical principles and distance people from Christ.
After all, it is Jesus who taught us to love the sinner – not the sin – and to stay closely connected to Him. He is the Judge who will have the final word when every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Christ our King. We will never know how to respond to everything that comes our way, but knowing Jesus as our personal Savior and Friend brings peace and promise through it all!
Becky Spell Vann is a long-time columnist for The Sampson Independent’s Faith & Family section and owner of the outreach ministry Tim’s Gift.