Friday, December 21, 2012

Faith in an Age of Fear (Prince of Peace)

There are no shortage of things to be scared or 'freaked out' about in our world.

Mayan calendars, weather emergencies, economic collapse, school violence...the list could go on and on!

Obviously, some on that list have more legitimacy than others, but with 24/7 news cycles, each and every one of them gets blown out of proportion, to the point that the story about the fear becomes The Story! 

In other words, we stop looking at the actual 'threat' and what to do about it and start focusing on the 'fear' itself. This cycle continues until classes are cancelled, businesses are closed, etc.--all because of the fear!

I remember, for example, when we lived near Philadelphia that several businesses and schools would close because of the forecast of 2 inches of snow! It consumed the news coverage, thus causing more schools and businesses to follow suit, which attracted more attention and 'news' coverage, and so on...

Today, we're faced with a similar scenario.

The Mayan calendar supposedly stopped today, and so there was a lot of attention given to the 'prediction' that the world would end today.

That was ridiculous, of course. My 2012 calendar ends in exactly 9 days...does that mean that the world will end then? Of course not! By the grace of God and within His plan, January 1, 2013 will come after that, and off we'll go into a new year. 

Other people are fearful of school and community violence today. Several school districts in our area cancelled classes--some because of "heightened sensitivity and concern", others because they had received actual threats. (In most cases, it was a rumor of a threat, not an actual threat.)

Now, I know that our school Superintendents are in a 'no win' situation. If they do not cancel, and something really does happen, they will be blamed because they could have avoided it. If they do cancel, they will be blamed for giving into irrational fear. I get it. 

However, I would simply like to suggest the we all push back from the table, turn off the constant 'news' coverage, and 'chillax' a bit! 

We simply cannot live in fear! We cannot be ruled by anxiety over 'what might happen'--today or any other day!

But how are we to counteract this constant drumbeat of fear? How are we to rise above it?


Because we know that God is in control, and because we know that He has a plan--for our world, and for our individual lives--we can rest and have peace, even when the world around us freaks out!

Philippians 4 says this: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)

When we remind ourselves that God is watching over us, that He has our lives in His hands, that He knows the Eternal plan--and is working it out, we can rest and have peace...a "Peace that passes understanding". 

Remember the Romans 8: Because of His love for us, and because nothing can stop that love, and because we know that He's causing everything to 'work together for our good' as those who love and follow Him, we can have peace. 

"If God is for us, who can ever be against us?...Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?... No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:31-39)

To paraphrase, 'Neither Mayan calendars, nor doomsday scenarios, neither threats of violence nor forecasts for weather disasters...NOTHING can separate us from the love of God!

Today, my prayer for you is that Jesus, the Prince of Peace, will reign in your hearts and minds...that the stuff that causes fear in so many will simply remind you, as a Christ follower, to pray and rest. That the Peace of God will 'guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus', and that you can rise above the noise and voices of this world which would foment fear, and walk into your day--today and every day--with confidence. 



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