Wow, this is a great conversation, and one I’ve been hoping for. I want to know what different perspectives are on what is happening around us in America. I have some thoughts to share, but my perspective is very small so they may not be of any help at all.
Jesus predicted that his disciples will be afraid and panic and then leave him, so his encouragement is good for all uncertain times:
“A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:32-33 NIV
There is so much in the New Testament that addresses how we should think in times like what we are going through.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”
James 1:2-6 NIV
What are we to do as Christians when adversity and conflict arises? What about our future and our children’s future? Things are changing so how are we supposed to adapt? We first must put our trust in God.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
All through history the world has been in turmoil. There is much said in way of encouragement in the New Testament because there was to be a great time of trial:
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
1 Peter 5:6-11 NIV
I understand the fears people have, and I agree that we Americans have been very comfortable for a long time, which is why it is time for things to change. When we become too comfortable in the Church and we get a bit lazy and don’t, as a church, pursue knowledge and the truth like we should and end up repeating the same doctrines we’ve always heard, and aren’t trying to understand the questions and plight of the unsaved people around us, things are going to take a nasty turn and we Christians will be shaken from our cozy chairs and left wondering what happened. We need to do what we always should have done and that is to do what Jesus counciled his disciples before sending them out:
“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”
Matthew 10:16 NIV
We need to trust God to provide for us, pay attention to what is going on in the world, learn from each other as we seek to show the love of Christ to our neighbors, and be shrewd and innocent, and to not be afraid because the Holy Spirit will provide strength and wisdom when we ask for it. We must teach our children these things as well, to not be afraid but to live life as Jesus has always wanted us to live life: for Him, showing love to all, and putting our trust in him and asking him to cast away our fears as we also seek to gain wisdom for His glory.
As to the wisdom of how to deal with such matters as we see before us in our country, I love the idea of getting outsiders’ perspectives. Being prayerful and facing this together as a church is so important. Our families need to be strong and walking after the Spirit, ministering to and caring for those around us.
I hope to hear some very different perspectives as I am, like many are I am sure, left not sure what to think of everything that is going on. But that’s the nature of change: it is filled with new and uncertain things. That is why we should continue our lives looking to the face of Jesus whose Spirit will guide us no matter where this craziness takes us. Uncertainty isn’t fun, but it’s not impossible to navigate when we have the Lord on our side. Things are hard, but when we get a better view of the bigger picture, that is that Jesus triumphed over this world, it is encouraging. Thank you Lord for taking us through times like this. May your name be lifted up as this unrest causes those who don’t know you to look and see if you are really there and us Christians to start looking more to you for guidance therefore increasing our faith.