The world seemed simpler when I was growing up. It was easier to tell who the bad guys were, and there didn’t seem to be as many of them. I remember that the big nation to fear, at the time, was the Soviet Union. I vaguely recall playing some game during a youth group lock-in called “Russians and Christians.” To the best of my memory, it was essentially a game of chase with bad guys (the Russians) chasing after the good guys (the Christians). Funny how back then things seemed much more black and white, good vs evil. (Little did we know then that the USSR would dissolve and Russia would be welcoming Christian missionaries.)
Today, the list of “enemies” seems much longer. I can’t read or watch the news without hearing about one nation attacking another or preparing nuclear weapons, “just in case”. North Korea. Iran. Iraq. Lebanon. Israel. Even homegrown terrorists. I can see how some people get easily freaked out by the news, as most of it is gloom and doom reporting.
When others around me at work or even at church lament about how the world’s on the brink of disaster, I remind myself that none of this is news to God. He not only knows the motives and actions of every world leader, but they are there by His power and will. I don’t understand why there are so many terror-inducing leaders, or why so many countries are poised to attack. But I don’t have to understand it, I just have to rest in the fact that God knows what He’s doing.
This is a scary world, particularly for unbelievers. But we don’t have to be afraid. As Paul reminded Timothy, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. ” (II Timothy 1:7)
One of my favorite Psalms, particularly for calming fears, is Psalm 27:
The Lord is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid?
When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.
One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.
Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.
Hear my voice when I call, O Lord; be merciful to me and answer me.
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek.
Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, O God my Savior.
Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.
Teach me your way, O Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.
Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, breathing out violence.
I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
If you find yourself worrying about the state of the world, I urge you to make it a practice to pray for our nation, its leaders, and for all the world leaders. One resource that you might want to check out is the Presidential Prayer Team, which provides weekly prayer requests for President Bush, Cabinet members and other leaders, our nation, our troops, and other nations.
Don’t let the news of today rob you of the peace that the eternal God gives.