Troubling Times

I t would be interesting to know how many generations have reached a certain point that they say, “We live in troubling times.”  I imagine that it may have been said by every generation since Adam.  It seems that as we mature into adulthood, we are able to have enough history to use our wisdom to try to predict the future.  As a result, many in the younger generation often do not see the danger that appears to be hiding around the corner. While I do not want to be someone who is pessimistic about the future or one who cries “The sky is falling” when it is not, we should do our best to be aware of what is going on in society and prepare for it.  I have read many stories in the news lately about individuals and businesses that have found themselves forced to choose between the teachings of the Bible and the conclusions of society.  I would like us to take some time, not to discuss the specific issues, but to consider how we should respond to the challenges we may very well face in the near future.

One of the first things we should consider is finances.  Many times we are concerned about these moral challenges, and they can cause us to compromise our beliefs.  We may think that if we don’t give in “a little” we may lose our job or not get that promotion.  Paul warns “those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17).  God has plans for us, and they do not include compromise with evil.  The more we put confidence in our wealth, the less trust we are placing in God to provide.  We very well may lose that job or not get that promotion, but God will reward us for our integrity.

The next thing we must consider is just how important are the things of the world to us.  In Luke 21:34, Jesus says, “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and cares of this life, and that Day come upon you unexpectedly.”  If we are looking forward to the day when we leave this world to enter the next, then the only time the things of this life become important is when they affect our salvation.  Jesus warned this could happen in the parable of the sower.  He explained the seed planted among the thorns as “he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful” (Matthew 13:22).  Worrying too much about this world can cost us dearly in the next.

We also must consider who we trust for truth.  Paul told the Corinthians “my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:4).  Putting our trust in faulty human logic and its limited understanding will lead us down the wrong path.  However, God has shown us His wisdom and power in so many different ways and has never failed.  We need to put all our confidence and trust in Him.

There are two accounts in the Bible where Jesus calms a raging storm, Matthew 8:23 and Matthew 14:22.  Both times Jesus is with individuals who panic when the sea gets rough.  The winds are blowing wildly, the waves are threatening to capsize their boats, they are afraid for their very lives, and there is nothing they can do about it.  This sounds very similar to how we can feel if we let the events of life become overwhelming to us.  We can feel like situations are compounding against us, like the forces of Satan are winning the battle, and there is nothing that can stop them.  However, just like those men in the boats, we sometimes forget about the power of God.  All Jesus had to do was speak and the storms were passed.  How powerful the words “Peace, be still” can be when spoken by the Son of God.

When we become overwhelmed with the direction society is taking, when we are concerned about the consequences of standing for the truth of God, when we are tempted to wonder if the wisdom of the world might have something to offer us, we must remember “Peace, be still.”  God has the ability to calm all the storms in our life and will reward us for our faithfulness to the truth of His word.  As long as Jesus is in our boat (in our lives) and we are trusting in Him, we have nothing to fear.

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:37-39).