"Be anxious for nothing, but in all things by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you." Paul in Philippians 4:6-9
We are living in interesting times. As I was praying about the message for this article, I kept finding my mind distracted by current events. A better part of my day was spent searching for information about things happening in our nation. Although there are numerous sources, I know there can be a bias in media, so I try to find a balance in what I read.
The more I read, the more distracted and disturbed I became, and suddenly, a song from my youth popped into my head. Those of you who grew up in the 60's will probably recognize it immediately. The song "For what it's worth" by Stephen Stills of Buffalo Springfield was very popular in the late 60's when government and students began clashing over issues of the day. The song became popular again when the movie Forrest Gump brought to into play As I was reading articles today, I couldn't help but think of one of the lines from the song; "Paranoia strikes deep, into your life it will creep, and it starts when you're always afraid, step out of line and the man comes and takes you away."
It seems to me, we are living in a time where paranoia is striking a deep chord in the hearts of many. Our once "safe" nation seems less so with each passing day. Battle lines appear to be much more clearly defined lately. There's a lot less gray area and a lot more black and white. I have seen many things recently reminding me of how perilous times are for those of us who follow Christ's teachings. Persecution isn't something happening only on foreign soil anymore.
But we shouldn't be surprised or dismayed.
Jesus warned us about these events long ago.
In Matthew 24, He begins warning of the tribulation to come. There He speaks of wars and rumors of wars, nation rising against nation, famines pestilence and earthquakes. He calls all these things "the beginning of sorrows" and warns that of the day and hour of the final even"not even the angels of heaven" but the Father only. And He admonishes the believer to "Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming." (vs 42) and "be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him". (vs 44)
So how do we stay focused and calm in light of all that is happening?
We fix our focus on Jesus Christ and determine to diligently follow Him...no matter what!
We remind ourselves and one another the truth from God's word: "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NKJV)
And we pray.
We pray for those in authority over us, we pray for one another, we pray for discernment and wisdom. We pray for strength, courage and the grace to stand firm in the face of adversity. We pray because it is our duty, our privilege and the key to aligning our hearts to the Holy Spirit who will grant us the peace which surpasses all understanding, and will guard our hearts and minds.
And when we are at peace with God, nothing can shake us.