I have a confession to make today. That confession is this: There are times when I pay way too much attention to the news. I just HAVE to know what’s going on out there in the “real world,” out there in the wild and wacky beyond, where good is called evil, and evil good … where light is called darkness and darkness light, and where an incredibly small minority of certifiably insane people totally dominate the news today.
Albert Einstein defined insanity this way: “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Einstein also gives us another quote that is pertinent to today’s blog. He said, “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”
Sigh and Cry
The list of bad news today is seemingly endless. Terrorists shoot down an airliner in the Ukraine, and kill hundreds of innocent people. Hamas bombs Israel, and Israel responds by bombing Hamas. The media blames Israel for both. Christians are being brutally murdered by the hundreds every day in the Middle East and Northern Africa by Muslim extremists. We all know it’s only a matter of time till we hear news of another school shooting spree by some self-deceived monster, but of course it’s out of the question to put the 10 Commandments on a wall in a public school and allow young people to learn the simplest of Godly principles in life. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” … “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” … “Thou shall not kill!”
Now, I’m not saying it’s a sin to watch the news. We are counseled to “watch and pray always” (Mark 13:33; Luke 21:36), and in Ezekiel 9, God shows that He will protect those who “sigh and cry for the abominations” committed in their midst … and one has to know about the abominations in our midst in order to “sigh and cry about them.
But today, if you’re aware of even a little bit of what’s going on out there, you just can’t help being a little bit disturbed by what you see and hear, and feeling anxiety over how it may effect your community, your friends and your family. For me it just becomes a turbulent emotional mixture of anger, frustration, angst, worry, fear … and it can be hard to get a grip on sometimes.
Be Still and Know
There is a phrase in Psalm 46:10 that is tailor made for times such as these. It reads, “Be still, and know that I am God.” The word translated “be still” is from the Hebrew raphah, which means to forsake, to leave, or to let alone.
It is inevitable that we should see the many calamities that come upon this world as a result of the reckless abandon with which humanity governs and conducts itself today. We can see it, we can pray about it, we can sigh and cry over it … but after we have done that, we are counseled to LET IT GO.
And there is something else here that God tells us to do. We aren’t just to be still and let it go. We are to also do something very positive for ourselves that brings a lifetime benefit to us. We are to “be still and KNOW that I am God.” The word “know” is the Hebrew yada, which conveys “knowing” another individual on a very intimate and personal basis. We are supposed to “know God” in ways, and to a degree that surpasses even our most intimate human relationships, so we invest a great deal of time in study, prayer, meditation … all to gain experiential knowledge, and interact with God.
Having that kind of relationship with someone with the absolute holiness and character of God and Christ brings with it a kind of trust that can carry us through any crisis that presents itself.
Let’s look at Matthew 6:24-34. So many of the problems we see in the world around us have to do with an expected economic collapse that could be brought on in a number of different ways. For example, if the electrical grid goes down for a few weeks, our means of preserving food goes with it.
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Mat. 6:24-34)
Anxious for Nothing
Philippians 4 holds another key to coping with the troubles that plague all of us on a daily basis in this world in which we live today. This verse tells to not be anxious about anything – it’s another way of saying “be still” and “let it go.”
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:6-7)
As things get worse in the world around us, we should be asking God to keep showing us all the things we’ve got to be thankful for, and we should be asking for His deliverance as we thank Him for the rich blessings of life. And if we do that, verse 7 tells us that God will literally FILL us with His own special peace …that will help us through even the worst of times.
I’d like to end by quoting all of Psalm 46. This is the power of the God we serve, so as we pray, and give thanks, His peace fills us. Let’s all be still, and know that He is God.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah
There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn. The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted.
The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
Come, behold the works of the Lord, Who has made desolations in the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariot in the fire.
Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!
The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge.