Is it Time to be Afraid?
We have a Sovereign Savior!
The title of the op-ed couldn’t help but catch my eye.
I’ve Never Been So Afraid for America—William A. Galston. June 3, 2020.
Dr. Galston and I may not agree politically, but his published sentiment struck a cord with me. Independently, my bride (Pamela) said something very similar in a conversation we were having just the other night. Galston writes, “I have long regarded 1968 as the worst year for America since the Civil War. The assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., the violent protests it sparked, the killing of Robert F. Kennedy, the intensifying controversy over the Viet Nam War which divided classes and generations. I remember saying to myself (then): it can’t get worse than this. For more than half a century it didn’t—until now. I fear, as never before, for the future of our country.”
These are some of the most difficult days I personally can remember in 66 years. Physically, along with the entire global population, we in America are being thoroughly humbled by a virus that relentlessly stalks every public, and many private, places we go. Financially, as of this week, our nation is $25,000,000,000,000 (25 trillion) dollars in debt, a figure that defies illustration or the imagination. Yet we have money to hand out? Politically, we’ve never seen such uncooperative polarization in our nation’s capital. Emotionally, frustration and depression are at new levels. Morally and spiritually, we hear few (if any) national calls for repentant crying out to God.
Even in such self-inflicted circumstances, we attempt to assure ourselves (mostly on our own) “We’ll get through this.”
JESUS’ DISCIPLES AND FEAR
In a time when genuine, real hope is needed perhaps like never before, you and I belong to a victorious Savior and sovereign Lord. God’s people have lived in incredibly desperate times before. During the days of the Judges, when everyone was left to do doing what was right in his/her own eyes, there were the bright lights of Ruth and Boaz. During the years when King Ahab and Queen Jezebel were turning God’s nation over to the Baals, there were 7,000 who hand not and would not bend the knee to any but the Lord God of Israel. During the dark days of religious hypocrisy and Roman oppression, the Hope of the World was born in an obscure, left-over stable in Bethlehem.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, we cannot guarantee that our country will survive in the next 50-100 years. There come moments of reckoning when the long day of God’s forbearing grace, open for peoples and nations for decades, suddenly closes. Ask the generation which perished in the Genesis 6 flood. Ask the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18). Ask those carried of Israel off by
Assyrian military juggernaut, ask those of Judah who were marched from Jerusalem to Babylon. What God’s sovereign hand has planned for our nation and the generations to come is not clear.
TIME FOR OUR HOPE TO SHINE
Nonetheless, such are the times when Jesus’ disciples—men and women and boys and girls of faith—can truly shine in a HOPE that will not be diminished nor diluted by our times.
Paul writes to the Philippian church – “Be blameless and innocent, children of God in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life” (2:14-16).
Peter writes to the disciples in Asia Minor, “Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to provide clear reason for the hope that is in you, yet do so with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15-16).
Paul reminds Timothy, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control” (2 Tim 1:7).
John gets our eyes up! “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears[a] we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure” (1 John 3:1-3).
Good brothers and sisters, when the world darkens, Jesus’ disciples are the light of the world. In such difficult times, let’s be all the more eager to shine with Christ.
STEPS WE CAN TAKE
- In obedience to the Word, let’s all the more eagerly pray for our country and its leaders, that their decisions will enhance the spread of the Gospel (1 Timothy 2:1-6).
- In obedience to the Word, let’s pray and be ready for opportunities to share the joy and hope and life of Christ with others. In conversations, share your confidence in Christ and God’s care and plan for your life (2 Corinthians 5:18-21)
- In obedience to the Word, let’s continue to love each other in practical, encouraging ways. Whom have you called to encourage today?
“Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. Always be thankful. For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).