You don’t need me to tell you that we are living in turbulent times.
Climate changes across the world are bringing floods, drought, famine and devastating fires. There may not be a world war at present, but there are certainly hundreds of wars across the world. There is political corruption in many places, and many disputes about who has actually won elections. The Coronavirus has far from gone away and still brings sickness, financial and business disruption and worse wherever it strikes.
Thousands upon thousands of people are fleeing their homelands in search of safety and security. Even in countries like ours many are struggling with their budgets and losing sleep over how they are going to pay the fuel bills and feed the family.
It’s a tense time to be living in for just about everyone everywhere.
And yet, none of this is new, and in a strange way that’s a comfort. The world has never been safe and peaceful. Jesus lived on earth in troubled, dangerous times. Just before he was arrested Jesus spoke to his disciples telling them of some of the troubles that were ahead of them.
Then in John 16:33 he said: -
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
We may think that we are at risk today from powerful, power crazed madmen and of course we are. But search your Bible and you’ll find such people have always been around. They come, they go, but God’s people continue. The world keeps rolling.
And so must we. This is not a time to retreat behind locked doors, hunkering down in the hope that sooner or later things will get better and we can emerge again into sunshine and laughter.
Christianity has always been a counter cultural faith. Our leader rules not by force, but by a message of peace. He taught us a new way to conceive victory, power, and strength. He redefined for us what it looks like to win and what it looks like to rule.
Because in HIS Kingdom the last will be first and the poor will be rich.
He taught us that strength sometimes looks like weakness, and that power isn’t a weapon. He taught us to love our enemies and to bless those who persecute us.
And he teaches us to live each day we have in the light of the reality that our true citizenship is not here on earth but in heaven. Our lives on earth are just a morning mist, but our life in the kingdom of God is everlasting. If we can grasp that this is just the start of our life will that make our thoughts and actions different? Will we stop hiding behind our homes’ door waiting for better times to come.
I’m speaking to myself here as much as anyone else. My right (dominant) hand in plaster for a while yet and feeling quite limited. But I am discovering what I CAN do with 1 hand, 3 fingers and a set of teeth! We all have our limitations, but with ingenuity and support we can do more than we thought at first.
The Great Commission has not been put on hold until my hand is free of its plaster support, or until we are in better times, but is in fact an even more urgent call on us now in these difficult days. No matter how turbulent these times are Christians are called to move forward confidently under the banner of Jesus. To fight hate with love, to meet chaos with calm and peace. To care for the lonely, weak, sick, orphaned, alien and widowed. To reach out to the unlovely and the outcast, in whatever ways we can- and there are always ways we can.
Psalm 18:6 remains a prayer we can all pray however turbulent life is.
In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help.
Psalm 18:16-19 He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was
my support. HE BROUGHT ME OUT INTO A SPACIOUS PLACE; HE RESCUED ME BECAUSE HE DELIGHTED IN ME.
And we have been left with a comfort and a promise by Jesus in John 14:1-3 Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you may also be where I am.