The past week has been heart-wrenching for me. Watching the fear that has gripped the people of our country, and their reactions, which have so often devolved into anger and hatred and vitriol–quite simply, it has broken my heart. And as I’ve prayed and cried and prayed and cried and prayed and cried, here is the response I have heard again and again: “Do not fear.”
God is not surprised by the things that are happening in our country. And He is NOT powerless to work, even in the midst of the darkness of this time. So many scriptures have been dropped into my thoughts this week:
“Depart from evil and do good. Seek peace and pursue it.” (Psalm 34:14) “Commit your way to the Lord; trust also in Him and He will do it…Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.” (Psalm 37:6-7) “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is near. 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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” (John 14:27)
There are so many more. And so, I’m choosing to heed these words: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything is worthy of praise, dwell on these things…practice these things and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9)
I wrote these words in my journal recently:
Spiritually speaking, we have become a degraded, narrow-minded, fearful, self-protective people. Perhaps this is why news of sickness and loss and death are so terribly disheartening–there is no nobility, no self-sacrifice, no re-enactment in small ways of the redemptive story of God. Or perhaps we have forgotten to look for it…
Today, I choose to look for it, to look for the ways God is at work in the darkness of our world, and to join Him in His work.
I’ll leave you with these words of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, spoken in his inaugural address in January, 1933:
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance…We face our common difficulties. They concern, thank God, only material things…the withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side;… the savings of many years in thousands of families are gone. More important, a host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence, and an equally great number toil with little return. Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment.
The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit. Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy and moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves and to our fellow men.
Recognition of the falsity of material wealth as the standard of success goes hand in hand with the abandonment of the false belief that public office and high political position are to be valued only by the standards of pride of place and personal profit;…Small wonder that confidence languishes, for it thrives only on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection, on unselfish performance; without them it cannot live.