Bethel friends- this is essentially a few thoughts I had in response to Eric’s recent sermon from Daniel 2. If you were there, feel free to carry on about your day. He handled it better than I could, certainly. If you weren’t there and have 35 minutes, by all means, listen to this instead of reading what I have to say. I mean, he used the BIBLE and spent a whole week preparing, rather than listening twice for 35 minutes and thinking a few thoughts. It’s worth your time.
There’s a lot going on in the world right now, right?
I get it. Scary things are happening around the country and the world. Marriage is different than it was. Bathrooms are different than they were. Shootings. Gun control. Election 2016. Everything.
Do I like coming up with good, biblical, loving, and honest answers to questions about marriage, culture, and gender expression for my small people? Not especially.
Does the current field of presidential candidates make me want to hide out of embarrassment to be American? To be human??? Um.. kinda.
But can I bring us back to some capital “t” Truth?
God is still God.
America was never the hope for the world. (Jesus filled that position a long time ago.)
What is going on now is not The Worst Anything Has Ever Been, Ever.
We know the end of the story.
The sky is not falling.
In case you didn’t read the quote in the image above (and even if you did), let me repeat:
God’s sovereignty means that if there’s anybody in this wide world of sinful men that should be restful and peaceful in an hour like this, it should be Christians. We should not be under the burden of apprehension and worry because we are the children of a God who is always free to do as He pleases. There is not one rope or chain or hindrance upon him, because he is absolutely sovereign.
Can we please stop playing Chicken Little?
When we are FREAKING THE HECK OUT about all the things that are or seem to be going awry in the country and the world, we’re demonstrating a lack of faith in either the sovereignty or the goodness of God.
That says something to the world watching us.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t engage.
But can we please engage from a place that demonstrates trust?
Can we show love and grace for the people around us? Even the ones that disagree?
Can we be be grieved for the damage that sin is doing to those around us (and first, be grieved at the ways our own rebellion damages us and our neighbors) instead of only being angry about it?
Learn what you can about the issues and the candidates. (Preaching to myself here, since researching issues isn’t exactly the top of my list of things to do with my free time and energy during this season.) Filter things a best you can through the Word.
Vote. Pray about it. Vote (or possibly abstain) as your conscience requires.
Share pieces of information you find helpful. Pay attention to your sources, though.
Talk to people who don’t agree. But do it kindly.
All of the things I’m saying here have been covered before, much better (and certainly with more authority.)
For instance, the Apostle Paul in Colossians 4:5-6 (NIV):
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Or, because the “seasoned with salt” part isn’t as clear today as when it was written, NLT:
Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.
Did you catch the word “opportunity”?
The places that you and I live at this point in time are full of this kind of opportunity. Can we make the most of it, rather than drawing our lines and throwing our grenades?
People want to talk about this.
I hope, when given the chance, to do it in a way that demonstrates faith in a good, loving, and sovereign God.
I’m reading some beautiful stories to the kiddos these days from the Tales of the Kingdom trilogy. They’re allegorical and engaging. (I highly recommend them for any age, though they’re a little hard to find for a normal kid-book price.) Anyway, in Great Park, where the King rules, the Rangers (the King’s men and women who help protect Great Park) shout this to each other as they keep watch from their towers:
How goes the world?
The world goes not well, but the Kingdom comes!
The world goes not well, but the Kingdom comes.
Lord Jesus, please help us to engage the people around us with grace and truth. Give us the ability to trust in your ultimate sovereignty, however the world around us looks at the moment. Please give us wisdom as we find opportunities to talk to people who need you. Thank you for being a good God, who knows the end from the beginning and everything in between. Help us to trust in that goodness and sovereignty and demonstrate that trust to people around us.
If you’re still with me and this doesn’t make a lot of sense to you because Jesus is just a guy that a lot of angry people seem to follow, and this doesn’t really seem to fit… can I recommend this post where I go into a little more detail about who Jesus is and why I think He’s worth following?