I have a hard time pretending like all is normal right now. Because, let’s face it, it’s just not. I don’t think I can count the amount of times I’ve used the word “insanity” in the last four months. I am sure it is more times than I’ve used it in my entire life. I also can’t count the times I’ve said that I can’t imagine going through this without God and His Word. I would feel like a ship without a captain on a churning, angry sea.
After today, I am going to try to move to other subjects to write about (barring unforeseen circumstances). I know we are all tired of thinking about the world and its woes. We are ready for a different focus. We want to be encouraged, not reminded. But last night, as I was thinking, yet again, about the changes that have taken place, I was struck by the different ways this is processed by people. Please keep reading, because I do think you will be encouraged by the time you are done reading this.
At one time or another, all of us have our worlds upended. An unexpected death, a cancer diagnosis, a child that wanders from the Lord, a lost job, etc. We’ve all experienced something that has changed our world. But this is the first thing–at least for those of us under 60–that has changed all our worlds. I am talking about changing our day to day. Sure, there have been unsettling things in the past. But what is going on now has literally changed the daily life of almost every single person on this planet in some way. And it’s so strange, isn’t it? No matter where you go (not that many of us are going very many places these days), you have something to talk about with people. We are all experiencing the same thing. It is honestly hard to grasp how different the world is now than it was four months ago.
And, as we process this, I think we all respond differently. But there is only one way to respond that is the right way. Eventually, all Christians should arrive at this response, even if it takes awhile to get there (and for many of us it has. And is.)
So here are the five ways. The fifth is the right way, according to scripture. (Don’t take my word for it. My word means absolutely nothing. Study this for yourself in the Bible.)
First, many people respond by being in DENIAL. If we just pretend like the world is the same maybe things will just go back to normal. If we don’t know there are bad men plotting our destruction, then maybe it won’t happen. Ignorance is bliss to this person. They’d just rather not know.
And, honestly, I get it. Some things we don’t have to know and not everyone has a passion to know the truth about what’s going on. That’s okay. That’s not what this is about.
Someone who is in denial is afraid to face reality. And, as believers, we should never be afraid to face the truth. We must dig our heads out of the sand and start looking around. This makes us much more effective witnesses for Christ. This shows the world that a true believer can face reality and still be okay. Anyone can dig their head in the sand. It takes someone strong and courageous to look around, admit the truth as they survey the state of things, and face it with serenity.
Second, many people are DECEIVED. So so many people are deceived. Few people are willing to actually search out facts for themselves. They take everything they hear at face value and never do any digging. If the government mandates it, then it must be right. If the media proclaims it, then it must be true. If social media says this is false information, well, then, it must be false. BUT when you start to dig beyond that, you will find a massive deception taking place. This is backed up by facts. Not speculation.
As Christians, we make ourselves vulnerable when we live in a state of deception. We become tools in the hands of those who seek to deceive us. How important it is to think for ourselves, rather than allow ourselves be spoon-fed a narrative.
Third, many people end up DEPRESSED. If you refuse to be in denial or to be deceived, this is where you can quickly find yourself. The outlook of this world is grim. We look upon increasing anarchy and violence. We see tyranny coming. We know God can change the course of this but we also know that, even if He does, it is only temporarily. World tyranny is coming. The timing remains unknown. But what has happened over the past four months has brought that truth ever closer.
Fourth, many respond in DEFIANCE. They believe they can stand up and fight against all that is taking place. They believe certain outcomes (such as elections) will change the course of things. And, while this is not necessarily wrong, their focus is on the fight. Rather than focusing on God and His Word and what it teaches us, they try to make things turn out the way they desire by doing certain things. As we work our way through the minefield of obeying the government vs. defiance against unbiblical mandates, we must always do so with an attitude of submission to God and His Will. We must remember our first priority is as a servant to God. We are just sojourners in a foreign land. This world is not our home.
But denial, deception, depression, and defiance are not our only options! We have one more. And it’s so much better!
We can respond with DEFERENCE. Deference to God and His Will. (I Peter 5:6; Matthew 6:9-10; James 4:7)
According to dictionary.com, deference is: respectful submission or yielding to the judgment, opinion, will, etc., of another.
When we defer our agendas to God’s agenda, our will to His will, our desires to His desires, then life takes on a whole new outlook.
Instead of the temporal, we focus on the eternal. Instead of the here and now, we remember that there is a there and then. Instead of mourning the loss of this world, we look forward to the promised new world.
Of course, this is much more easier said than done. And, if you are like me, you will bounce back and forth between different responses. Most of us know the right response. We must just make a choice.
And when we make that choice He fills our hearts with peace (Isaiah 26:3; Philippians 4:6-7). You don’t believe in miracles? Well, God works a small miracle in the heart of a believer that yields to Him. I know because I’ve experienced this!
Here’s the thing…
The more we pray, spend time in the Word, and memorize passages of scripture, the easier this is to do. I have been writing about the power of God’s Word for ten years now and, yet, I am still in awe of this! The truth of this has become even more real to many of us as we face these unprecedented circumstances full of uncertainty. God’s Word is so powerful and yet so often we just ignore it.
We cannot respond in the right way to what is going on without it. Oh, fill yourself with it. Make time for it. Don’t let other things get in the way.
From my own personal experience, this is when fear and depression try to make their way in through the cracks in my soul. I have to keep this a priority. You do, too. At least, if we want to respond to all of this in a godly way. God has given us His Word for a reason. I am realizing that even more fully now.
We do not know the details of the future. But we do know a few things–
1. We know that we are on this earth at this specific time in world history for a reason. God has placed us here for such a time as this. As the world grows darker, our passion to share the Gospel should be increasing. Our passion to encourage other believers in the things of the Lord should be growing. The temporal things should be lessening in importance.
2. We know what we are supposed to be doing. God has given no disclaimer in His Word that we can let our guards down, stop growing spiritually, or lock ourselves in our own little worlds, when our world starts falling apart. We must continue to live a Christian life full of faith, hope, and love.
3. We know how this is going to end. God has been so kind to show us how this is all going to end. We know that God and His Kingdom will be gloriously victorious over all of this evil! We are on the winning side, and we dare not forget it! It may look like we are losing the battle now, but we will win the war!
So, my dear readers, don’t be discouraged. Pull your heads from the sand, search out the truth, refuse to be depressed, and be sure to temper the fight in you with God’s Word! God is still working all things for His glory and our good! (Psalm 72:19; Romans 8:28) and we have an absolutely amazing future ahead of us!
Be encouraged by these words from Revelation 22:1-5. This is what lies ahead for believers! Isn’t that exciting??—
And he showed me a [a]pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. 4 They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. 5 There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.