I plop on the couch after a day of running around school hallways trying to appease the incessant demands of the younger generation. Gripping the remote, I turn on the news. I’m not sure if I expected to hear about all the good deeds that occur in this world, but all my eyes and ears took in were the deteriorating conditions plaguing every continent but Antarctica. Ironically, you’d think Antarctica would be melted by now (the climate-change folks have raised quite an alarm!); however, the polar ice caps have increased by at least 50%, which is good news for the polar bears. Without them, we wouldn’t have the greatest Coke ads ever.
In all honesty, the news is just flat-out depressing. With my tendency to fluctuate between states of serene relaxation and purified panic, I’ve tried in recent months to minimize my intake of the news. It hasn’t worked.
If you ask a Christian about their opinions on the world, they’ll tell you that Jesus overcame the world, so have some faith! While this is true, it doesn’t take away from what believers are feeling. There is a growing number of Christians who have become worried or anxious for the current state of the world. And, guess what? I’m with them.
I’m scared, and that’s okay. I’ll tell you why.
I don’t like it when feelings are dismissed. Granted, feelings aren’t the best way to dictate your actions, but they're not without their merit. There’s an interesting dichotomy that occurs within my own body that I’d bet is happening within the bodies of many other fellow believers.
The human part of me (the part of me that is flesh) is frightened by this world. Who wouldn’t be? Let’s go over a few things that are currently happening on the planet Earth that might warrant some angst. Those things are as follows:
· Nuclear-crazed North Korea
· Strengthening of a public relationship between Russia and China
· Increase of Taliban forces post-Surge
· ISIS is re-strengthening in Northern and Western Africa
· Suppression of First-Amendment rights for right-leaning groups
· Rise of Satanism· Increase in late-term abortions
· Total ambivalence of the national debt· Growing demand for socialized medicine
· Personalization to the utmost degree of politics
I could’ve gone on, but alas, I don’t want to. My point is this: the world is a scary place. To me, it’s frightening. To any sane person, it’s frightening. That’s why there’s more and more people investing in power generators, emergency food supplies, gasoline, guns, etc. – the world is deteriorating at such a rapid pace that these people believe the end will be upon us at any moment.
I don’t know if I’m one of those people. I do have iodine pills downstairs for water purification (despite having a well on our property), but do I think the world is going to end tomorrow? No, but then again, I have no idea. I won’t insult Jesus by saying I know. If He doesn’t know, I don’t know. None us know.
The other side of the dichotomy that I’ve been speaking about is the spiritual side – the side that we should be most focused on.
I’ve never physically heard with my two ears God speak to me. I’ve never been blinded by the shekinah glory, and I’ve definitely never been visited by an angel. Although, I’ve been said to have the characteristics of an angel – mainly my good looks, charming smile, and halo. I’m kidding on all those things except the halo.
The closest I’ve ever come to physically feeling close to not just God but the Word of God is in those times of heightened anxiety. As a sufferer of panic attacks, my body is in a near-constant state of heightened awareness, and that’s putting it kindly. I tend to feel on edge, which is why the current political climate in the world is a bit scary.
One night, I was looking for the exact measurements of the Ark of the Covenant. I was studying the Book of Hebrews, but F.F. Bruce kept referring back to Exodus, so I was constantly flipping back-and-forth between the two books. In the background, I had Fox News Radio playing. I kept turning it down every couple of minutes because I was getting more and more anxious. After a while, I started chewing my fingernails. My concentration became stifled – to say the least! I was rereading verses three or four times, and finally, my pulse started to rapidly increase.
When my pulse started to spike, I bowed my head (as I always do) and attempted to regulate my breathing. What I was trying to do was ward off a panic attack. Sometimes, I’m successful. Sometimes, I’m not.
As my head was bowed, my hands were instinctively smoothing out the pages of my Bible. After fifteen minutes or so, I began to slowly read F.F. Bruce’s book on Hebrews, while simultaneously reading the verses he was referring to in the text. I can’t explain it, but a feeling of supreme peace came over me. A calmness that has yet to be matched in my life. Looking back on the experience, I feel pretty confident that it was the Holy Spirit, even though my logical mind seems to want to alienate that possibility.
Again, my point is this: physically, the world is scary, but spiritually, the world is exactly what the Word of God said it would be. We should take comfort in that. I’m not the type of Christian who will dismiss someone’s feelings, especially with regards to this topic. I don’t think feelings are the number-one concern with Jesus, but I don’t discount your right to have said feelings. Go ahead.
But spiritually, if you are truly saved, you’ll be okay. In fact, the comfort we should take away from all of this is that we’re that much closer to the Rapture. We won’t be here for the Tribulation Period, and while I take comfort in that, I don’t take comfort in knowing that there are people I love who will be there. They’ll suffer, and in a way, there’s not a ton of comfort in that, is there?
Jesus overcame the world. True. Jesus defeated sin. True. Jesus defeated Satan. He did so once, and He’ll do it again on the Plains of Megiddo. Is it okay to be worried by the world? Yes. But you can also take great comfort while others succumb to abject fear because as a saved Christian, you’re on the side of good in the apocalyptic battle between good and evil. Evil is and will be a formidable opponent – one that will invoke fear in your flesh, but not in our spirits. Our spirits (or at least mine) have found faith, love, and grace at the feet of Jesus Christ, our Messiah, Lord, and Warrior King. He’s our refuge, our protector, and our Savior.
Knowing this, my body is scared, but my spirit is unusually calm. And I thank God and Jesus for that – I most certainly do.