Year after year, surprising and shocking events take place in our rapidly changing world. Inevitably, fear takes hold of many—even Christians—as they witness and read about wars, natural disasters, and political upheaval. God’s people begin to wonder whether we dare to speak aloud biblical truths anymore, when the former Minister of the Interior of Finland, the current MP, Päivi Räsänen, just started a new trial for quoting the Bible on social media and displaying the biblical concept of marriage. And should we continue having children? After all, we’ve been taught that there are already too many people on this planet, and it makes one wonder if we should really be adding children to a world like this one. What if there is another pandemic on the way? Or if war breaks out in Finland? Is there enough food for everyone? And what happens if electricity prices rise again this winter? What about interest rates on loans? We have all faced these questions in recent years and may continue to ask again in the coming months. After decades of steady prosperity, our time suddenly feels like quicksand that starts to sink just when we think everything is fine.
It is true that we live in rather complicated times, which cause concern for a reason. Newspapers publish bad news every day, which we see constantly from the devices kept in our pockets. We hear so much bad news that it’s no wonder it affects our thinking. However, the Bible guides us, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may approve what the will of God is, that which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Rom 12:2 LSB).
As Christians, we should know that nothing on the news has come as a surprise to God. Every little thing is under his good providence, and in this truth the Christian has rest. We cannot let fear affect us as it affects the rest of the world. Part of the way the world moves is through fear. People are fed and moved by fear. Fear gets clicks on articles and makes people spend and go in precisely the way they desire. But as Christians, we must stop and think for a moment. Of course, world history has never been very steady. War, climate disasters, and all kinds of diseases and suffering have been present almost from the beginning.
Nothing that happens is pointless. Everything is in God’s great plan, which will one day end with the return of Christ and the recreation of the heavens and earth.
Our savior was also born in the midst of corruption, conspiracies, and violence. But his message was not that we should endlessly try to figure out the newest disasters and study these to make decisions about tomorrow with human wisdom. No. He had a different kind of message: the message of a kingdom breaking through in the midst of this sin and pain; a message about God who came to find the lost and lead them on the way to life. By grace alone, for his name’s sake alone. Because of this, nothing that happens is pointless. Everything is in God’s great plan, which will one day end with the return of Christ and the recreation of the heavens and earth.
Turn your eyes
So when you shudder at the tightening of freedom of speech, the sounds of war, or rumors of plagues, remember that you were created for a purpose: “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29 LSB). The gospel must be proclaimed boldly and fearlessly, no matter what time we live in. And if you’re wondering if you can have children in this scary time, remember that tomorrow belongs to God. Of course, one can be wise, but fear is a bad motive for the Christian. We make decisions out of love and truth, not fear (1 John 4:18). Luther once said that even if the world were ending tomorrow, today he would plant an apple tree. We live and work, get married and have children, and carry forward the good news of the gospel until Christ calls us home.
So when the storms of the world are roaring fearfully around us again, turn your eyes to Christ. Silence your smart devices and open your Bible. Quiet the noise of the world around you and go to your prayer room, approaching the throne of the only One who can bring rest to your overwhelmed heart and peace to our broken world. Listen to the good news, the gospel, over and over again, allowing the Lord and his truth to speak into and above the day’s headlines, renewing your mind in remembrance that he is in control and he is good. Christ still sits on his throne today, and the rulers of this world are in his hands. He can calm storms and make worlds with just a word (Mt 8:26; Gen 1). And he has every moment of your life in his hands.
Christ still sits on his throne today, and the rulers of this world are in his hands. He can calm storms and make worlds with just a word. And he has every moment of your life in his hands.
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Mt 6:33-34 LSB).