That one word summarizes so many of my feelings about our world and our culture right now.
- A man walks into an Abortion Clinic in Colorado Springs and murders 3.
- Political candidates insult anyone who poses a threat to their ‘idiot-ologies’ and pollsters track the impact on their numbers.
- A self-proclaimed holy war attracts malcontents from around the world to a cause that steals land from people, destroys millennia of history, robs people of their human rights, brutally murders those who disagree, all in the name of God.
- A gang of thugs attack innocent civilians and kill 130 in Paris.
- A drive by shooting kills a 9 year old child.
- A rogue police officer kills a high on PCP knife wielding youth…16 shots in 15 seconds.
- Sexually transmitted diseases are rising at an epidemic level.
- The disparity between rich and poor is growing wider each year.
More? The list could go on and on and would grow wider and deeper and more disturbing if we added other events not being reported by the Western press that are taking place in back corners of the world. Crazy.
And why? That is the big question isn’t it? Why are these things happening? Why now?
- Maybe these things have always been present but now because of the 24/7 news cycle and the ability to record and post these happenings by the most common of people we are hearing about them at an increasing rate.
- Maybe it is the frenetic pace that has been thrust upon us by the rapid increase in information and the inability to morally process that information into a positive direction.
- Maybe it is because we have no strategy to deal with those who are literal…clinically… crazy. They have lost touch with reality. They hear voices. They hear statements from public figures or see images in movies or fill themselves with roles they have played on video games and becoming consumed with fear they act, desiring to destroy the evil they perceive, but in so doing they become the evil.
- Maybe it is because of a spiritual disorder called arrogance: political arrogance; religious arrogance; narcissistic arrogance.
- Maybe it is because we are in the “End Times” when the Bible says all hell must break loose before heaven will claim the eternal day.
In my experience we cannot answer the why questions. Most often what we are given, what we hope to receive is a justification for a behavior that we know in our hearts in wrong. When we have a label, when we are given a rationale, at least we have something to hang our disbelief upon.
Maybe the greater question is what can we do to stay focused on something greater, something better than the craziness that surrounds us. I am reminded of the words of the Apostle Paul to Christians living in Philippi:
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, 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. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (4:4-9)
The work of a Christian in these times as in all times is to replace anxiety not in denial but by ‘presenting your requests to God.’ Our AA friends simply call this “Let go and let God.” It is not an easy task. It is work and one of the ways to do that work is to change how we think. Sometimes we attempt to get to an outcome over which we have no control (peace and contentment) while abandoning the behaviors over which we do have control (prayer and our focused thoughts).
Another place we see this same process is in Isaiah 26:1-4. Note the highlighted portion.
Isaiah 26:1-4 (NIV)
1 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city; God makes salvation its walls and ramparts. 2 Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith. 3 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast (on you), because he trusts in you. 4 Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.
It is the work of God to keep the individual in ‘perfect peace.’ Peace is a byproduct of something else. That is why in the New Testament Jesus told his disciples “Peace I leave with you, my peace give I unto you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let not your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27. Peace is a byproduct of the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…” Galatians 5:23. It is the work of the individual person to keep their mind steadfast on God because we have come to a point of trusting.
I guess that is the bottom-line for me. Can we, do we trust God? We will never have our entire “why” questions answered. But, can be trust God? Maybe it is the only way we can have peace in the midst of a crazy world.