It’s not ‘game over’

America is in the middle of a mess, isn’t she?  Seems that every institution is in deep trouble, the fabric of our society ripping apart; if you believe the crisis reporting of the media. In my adult lifetime, I cannot recall another era of comparably widespread fear. A kind of panic has taken root that is turning into a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy.  We keep repeating how terrible things, how challenging the future is, until we convince ourselves that hope is lost. Our attention is focused on pockets of problems that ignore the greater whole of the nation.  

We have become terribly fearful, which is a real problem because when we are convinced that we are in mortal danger, we choose one of two basic responses – flight or fight. We run and hide or we dig in and start a war!  

Are you hiding out, if not literally, figuratively? 
Have you retreated into your home, surrounded yourself with a few like-minded people, and attempted to shut out the world? 
Or, have you launched a war of words, furiously lobbing angry attacks on those that threaten your sense of well-being?

It’s time to PAUSE and reflect! The problems are real. The pandemic is here, but it will not wipe out the human race. America has racial problems that go deep but they are not beyond a solution if reasonable people will work together. The economy has slowed and job losses are a major issue, but prosperity will return. Christian, this is a time of unprecedented opportunity for God’s people, His Church, but not if we join the “Chicken Little” screams that the sky is falling on our heads.  If anyone has reason NOT TO FEAR, it is the person who knows God, who enjoys the promise of eternal life, who is invited to enter the Presence of the Lord with every concern carried to the Throne in prayer!

Joshua took the leadership of Israel after Moses died. It was a crisis moment. The only leader they had known was gone. They had lived as wanderers in the wilderness for an entire generation. Now, it was time to launch an invasion of Canaan, a land of formidable obstacles. Here is what that old man told those people: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9, NIV)  Read that line again and take note of the WHY that would sustain them.  Joshua did not say, “God will remove every problem.” Nor did he say, “It’s not really an issue, it’s all in your imagination.”

He said, “The LORD, your God, will be with you.”  We must quiet ourselves UNTIL we have re-discovered His Presence.

Those who choose faith, who exercise their ‘prayer muscles,’ find new courage and clear vision. Clear-minded Christians who are held in the hands of God can look and listen and learn. They can help find solutions, seeing the chaos as an opportunity. They can begin to act instead of react, to hold fast to principles instead of prejudice. I am not suggesting that every value is up for negotiation, or that we have to throw away every conviction and accommodate the most radical demands for change.  But, we do not have to build the battle line either, determined to make an enemy of every person who disagrees with us.

The Scripture wisely reminds us that there is a “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven … a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak.” (Ecclesiastes 3:7, NIV) It’s always right to pray!  

I suggest these choices for all those who claim Christ as Lord.
Stop the anger.
Quell the fear.
Pray for courage.

Jesus asks us to “Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and on the unjust, too. If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even (sinners) do that much.” (Matthew 5:44-46, NLT)  We cannot imagine the good that God can do in us and through us if we invest the same kind of passion in prayer that we often invest in our conversations about the various crises in which we live.

This is not an easy prescription to take. Results are not instant. Living in times of great change is terribly costly to our sense of personal well-being. But, we can do it, God helping us, and if we are willing to show some discipline in the process.  Steep your mind in this word from the Word.

Hold onto it, repeat it, live it – “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and heard from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:4-9, NLT)

It’s not ‘game over’ time. God reigns.

How Great Is Our God

(worship at this link)

The splendor of the King
Clothed in majesty
Let all the earth rejoice
All the earth rejoice
He wraps Himself in light
And darkness tries to hide
And trembles at His voice
And trembles at His voice

How great is our God
Sing with me
How great is our God
And all will see how great
How great is our God

And age to age He stands
And time is in His hands
Beginning and the End
Beginning and the End
The Godhead three in one
Father Spirit Son
The Lion and the Lamb
The Lion and the Lamb

Name above all names
Worthy of all praise
My heart will sing
How great is our God

Chris Tomlin | Ed Cash | Jesse Reeves

© 2004 sixsteps Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) songs (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055

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