In my opinion, it might be a gross understatement to say that we are living in a time of intense turmoil on nearly all fronts, both nationality and internationally, and in every arena (political, cultural, social), the impacts of which are seen and felt inside and outside of the body of Christ, the church. And of course just about everybody has an opinion about what’s causing all the turmoil as well as possible solutions. If you ask the ‘man on the street’ in ‘Anytown’ U.S.A. which issue is the most important you will get all sorts of answers depending on the demographic of the interviewee.
Add a Christian worldview to the mix and we are faced with all of above in light of all what are provided in scripture that speaks to our time, from Old Testament prophecy through Revelation, and all that the Bible speaks of concerning ‘end times’ and the return of Christ to our beleaguered planet. And of course there are various interpretations of just about all of it, from the rapture of the church to the timing of the 2nd coming of Christ. While the Bible doesn’t give us all the details, we sure like to try and figure it all out!
To try and make sense of it all, I had to boil it down to two questions.
1. As a Christian, how am I to think about it?
2. As a Christian, how am I to behave in the midst of it?
As to my thought life, I can ignore it all and just go about my merry way , which is impossible, obsess about, which is unhealthy, or I can remember and take great comfort that God is in complete control of the affairs of men.
19 The LORD has established His throne in the heavens; And His sovereignty rules over all (Psalm 103:19).
3 But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases (Psalm 115:3).
5 For I know that the LORD is great, And that our Lord is above all gods. 6 Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps (Psalm 135:5-6)
“He (God) changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; (Daniel 2:21)
English Bible teacher and theologian A. W. Pink (1 April 1886 – 15 July 1952) had this to say about God’s sovereignty:
“Subject to none, influenced by none, absolutely independent; God does as He pleases, only as He pleases, always as He pleases. None can thwart Him, none can hinder Him. So His own Word expressly declares: ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure’ (Isa. 46:10); ‘He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand’ (Dan. 4:34). Divine sovereignty means that God is God in fact, as well as in name, that He is on the Throne of the universe, directing all things, working all things ‘after the counsel of His own will’ (Eph. 1:11).” – A. W. Pink, The Attributes of God (Swengel, Pa.: Reiner Publications, 1968), p. 27.
With the above passages of scripture in mind, and regardless of what I think about specific issues, I am to think about it all in terms of the Sovereignty of God. We can take comfort that God is not an absentee landlord, nor is he just a bystander who steps in now and again to make sure we don’t blow ourselves up. In the midst of all the turmoil it is God “…who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.” (Eph 1:11-12, NIV)
Concerning my behavior, I suppose I could run away to a survivalist community far from the maddening crowd, grow my own food, keeps lots of guns and ammo while adopting an EMP proof lifestyle (no electricity). I could get involved in any number of causes that have been set up and designed to ‘save the world’. Or I could see what the Bible tells me what I should be doing. The courses of action mentioned in this paragraph are not specifically discussed in the Bible; at least that I can see. At the same time, we are not left in the dark.
First of all, we are to pray; not only for those nearest and dearest to us, but for all men:
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior.” (1 Tim 1-3, NIV)
The Bible also tells us that as believers we are the salt of the earth and light of the world, in Matthew 5:13-16. We are to let our light shine before others so that they might see our good works and glorify God. So much for going into survivalist mode.
Secondly, as His servants we are follow the guidance the nobleman gave to his servants in the parable of the 10 minas in Luke 19.:
“He (Jesus) said therefore, “A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’ – (Luke 19:12-13)
Our ’10 minas’ is the gospel that we have received and believed, and that we are called to share with the lost world around us.
Yes, we are living in times of intense turmoil, but we can take comfort knowing that, in the end God is working out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will and for his glory. As we continue to look forward to the return of Christ and the eternal Kingdom, we can confidently continue to share His gospel with a dying world.
Keep the faith and keep up the fight!