Bad News. It seems like that’s all we hear these days. It might be a devastating category 4 hurricane ripping through the southland. Another shooting of an unarmed black man by a police officer (not again! Help us, Lord!). Differing stories and confusing perspectives on the best way forward in a pandemic. Political mudslinging coming from all sides. Christian leaders caught in sex scandals. It’s enough to throw your hands in the air and scream or to wistfully dream like the old bubble bath commercial, “Calgon, take me away.” Maybe for we believers it’s, “Jesus take me away.” But should that be our response?
Should we be surprised that our society is being shaken to the core? Should we shocked that the prince of this world is doing everything he can to thwart the work of God Almighty? Should we be caught off guard that a pandemic is exposing posers from true believers?
Paul told the Corinthians, “For we are not unaware of his schemes” (2 Corinthians 2:11). Don’t be unaware! The Enemy is prowling like a roaring lion. His modus operandi is to wreak havoc and cause trouble. He wants all of us to be hopeless, helpless and terrorized on all sides. He loves it when Christians fight against one another. Backbiting, gossip, taking sides and stirring mistrust are his specialties. Don’t. Be. Unaware.
If Jesus were sitting across from you in Starbucks (I’m writing this little ditty in Starbucks sipping on my tall pike place), what would he tell you? He would say (Before you scream, “How do you know what Jesus would say to this mess?” I know because Jesus said it before to another group of troubled and shaken followers):
Don’t let your hearts be troubled. John 14:1
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27
In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Believer, take heart! Jesus overcomes the world. Look to Him. Don’t look too much at a news channel—look to Jesus. Don’t look too much to Facebook, Tik Tok, Twitter or Instagram—look to Jesus. The world looks plenty dark these days, but Jesus said: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
In one of the last recorded prayers of Jesus, he prayed for you and me. Jesus knew there would be troubling times in this old world so he prayed: They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world (John 17:16-18).
Jesus’ prayer means we don’t stick our heads in the sand to the trouble. We don’t ignore it or wish it to simply go away. Instead, we are in the world. Sanctified. Holy. Shining the Light of Jesus. We look to Jesus to gain our vision, to keep our focus, and to know our Source of strength. But we don’t stop at the looking. We are to then act like Jesus. Love like Jesus. Care like Jesus. Jesus is the Good News! Believer, like Jesus, be the good news bearers in our world full of bad news. Jesus is the Light of the World! Shine that Light!