Originally published Friday, 22 July 2016.
I watch the evening news. And, I'm convinced they shouldn't no longer call it evening news, friends, they should call it: The Anxiety Hour.
Do you watch it too? Do you feel it crawl all over you?
The Anxiety Hour is the time of day where a day's work is done and you are looking for a little reprieve. In these 60 minutes, you grab your treat, you exhale, you grab the remote and then you plop down, thinking, "Time to tune out." Except you don't, you can't - because up there, on this little rectangle, mounted like a trophy in the heart of your house, mayhem, mania and madness pop off.
You see the tears.
You see the evil.
You see the injustice.
You see the pain.
You see the prognosis.
You see no answers.
You feel helpless.
If you could do something to change anything, you would. But, you feel small, unable. You assure yourself, even your loudest call would ring hallow and uncared for, in this echo-chamber called the world.
The decks are stacked, so why bother?
"What does a man gain for all his efforts that he labors at under the sun?" Ec. 1:3
"Absolute futility. Everything is futile." Ec. 1:1
Plus, you know things aren't going to end well. Talking heads can talk, but you have to figure out a way to stay safe - or sane for that matter.
There is an undercurrent of fear. The tensions under the surface of forced calmness are like riptides. They are rising. We all see them. We want to turn away. Pretend. Run. Hide. Shiver. Shake.
Yet, is this what Jesus called us to?
Self-preservation and dread?
Worry and anxiety?
Might we consider: The news is not evil,
but how our heart distrusts God easily could be?
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Phil 4:8
If we fill our mind with the grim, we can hardly keep our mind set on Him.
We can't see if we are blinded by the anger that boils over in our heart. We get distracted and what emerges doesn't look like love. It doesn't look like Jesus. And what hits me is this: Jesus never called us hone in on what's wrong with everything, he called us to remember God is in control - of everything. This is peace.
Am I believing Jesus reigns over everything?
5 Verses to Reclaim Calm when the World makes you Nervous:
- Christ Jesus who died--more than that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Ro. 8:34
The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? The LORD is with me; he is my helper. Ps. 118:6-7
- ...for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Ro. 13:1
- ...in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. Col. 2:10
- And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Mi. 6:8
Dear God, I am prone to worry. I let the happenings of the world, the elections and the economy sit heavy on me. I need to find your peace. I invite you to restructure my thinking. May my hope be you. May my peace be you. May you help love flow out from me. Give me clarity. May I change what I am able to change and release what I can't. May I know that the greatest joy is staying where you are. God, thank you that you have the whole world in your hands. I need not fear because you are the best manager, orchestrator and caretaker. You made it all. I believe in your plan. Amen.