EBOLA AND ISIS AND WARS–OH MY!

The sky is falling!

The sky is falling!

By Lisa Huddleston

Yesterday the country learned that a second healthcare provider in Dallas, Texas, has been diagnosed with Ebola, and the media is exploding with finger-pointing stories blaming the hospital, the workers themselves, the CDC, the government, and anyone else we can think of to assign guilt.

Of course, what lies behind our furious scramble to identify fault is our fear of losing control over this painful and deadly epidemic. If we can find someone to blame then perhaps we can correct the problems and return to our previous state of innocence.

By “innocence” I do not mean that we have been unaware of the turmoil that is swirling around the surface of our world. Yes, our troops have traveled far and wide striving to quench the fires of disaster that persist in erupting. But most of the devastation has been “over there.” The bullets and bombs and barbary have generally missed us—with notable exceptions of terror. The current events mean we actually may have to face the global fire ourselves, and that thought is terrifying.

As the wife and mother of healthcare professionals, I have to admit to being fearful. I am afraid for my family and subsequently for myself. There—I said it. I know we aren’t prepared for a national disaster on the level of what is happening in West Africa, and I am afraid.

But God (to borrow a show-stopping phrase from Scripture). . . Yes—BUT GOD.

God is not surprised, unaware, or afraid. He IS omniscient, omnipresent, and sovereign. And He loves us which is why He has tried to prepare us for the disasters that are sure to come.

“… because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now—and never to be equaled again. If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them. At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect—if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.

            “But in those days, following that distress,

“ ‘the sun will be darkened,

and the moon will not give its light;

the stars will fall from the sky,

and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’

            “At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.” (Mark 13:19-27)

Yes, I know Jesus’ words referred to events that were soon to happen in the lives of his hearers, but as is true of many of the prophetic words in the Bible, they also refer to events that have not yet taken place. Jesus wanted his followers to be prepared for what was to come so that they and we would not despair when the great trials came.

Well ... maybe not so near as I think?

Well … maybe not so near as I fear?

You’d have to be crazy not to fear the evil that is facing our world today. ISIS, Ebola, and even the many natural disasters such as fire and flood that seem to be increasing (although statisticians disagree—thank goodness). There is scary stuff happening in this world!

But I, you, and we don’t have to live in fear! Can bad stuff happen? Oh yeah. Will bad stuff happen? Absolutely. That’s why Jesus told us it would. But that doesn’t mean that this is IT—even though it is good to remember that one day it will be.

I know I tend to overreact when faced with stressful stuff, and I pray that a year from now I’ll read this post with embarrassment over being so worked up. (Yeah—I stocked the pantry just a little extra prior to January 1, 2000.)

But even in my hysteria there is God and He is good. And that’s why my thoughts have been dwelling on the following words:

“Finally, brothers [and sisters], whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things … And the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9).

Be on guard by keeping abreast of current events, dwell on the good and lovely things, and peace out, my brothers and sisters. Aren’t you glad He’s coming again?

 

 

FEAR NOT

By Lisa Huddleston

Are you kidding, God?  Fear not?  Have you watched the news lately?  You’d have to be nuts to “fear not.”  Babies are being shot in their schools.  Nearly 1000 people have died on our roads here in Tennessee alone.  Mayans say the world ends on the 21st (although I haven’t heard from any Mayans personally).  The fiscal cliff is about to pull us all over the edge.  And the depression monster is trying to push me under water again and I can barely breathe.  Fear not?  Really?

The only way I can think of to fear not is to escape.  Now escape can take many forms.  Some decide to conquer evil head on.  They write bills banning whatever they can blame the evil on—guns, cell phones, drinking, and so on.  (That’ll show ’em!)  And those who are against those bans take equal vengeance on their fear of losing their freedom.  Either way—fear wins.

Others escape by burying their tinsel covered heads into the holiday busyness.  Retail therapy can be good for the soul!  I can testify to its benefits.  But the distraction is temporary and the new becomes old in a blink.  Or parties!  Too much punch will erase your fear but just until the buzz wears off.  Or just solitary sipping—still temporary and much less socially acceptable.

Of course there are more permanent means of escape and sadly many do choose these routes during this season in particular.  Yet permanent is a relative term.  Eternity is a long time.  Even longer than permanent.  So even in escape “fear not” is a daunting command.

So here we are.  Okay, here I am.  Maybe you feel just fine.  But I am stuck.

“Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord was born for you in the city of David” (Luke 2:10.)

But, God, I am afraid.  I’m looking, but I’m still afraid. I know that I am part of “all the people” and that you were born for me in that little town of Bethlehem.  I believe you, but I am afraid.  Please, give me comfort.  Make me fearless.  Swaddle me in cloths of great joy that repel the fear and keep me safe.  Swaddle my family and my friends.  Swaddle the babies who sit in classrooms and those who lie too soon in manger-like coffins.  Swaddle the parents who are alone.  Swaddle the evil in our hearts and wrap our arms to our sides so that we cannot cause harm.  Then maybe I will not fear.

Help thou my unbelief.

The beautiful piece attached to this article is called COMFORT, by Kim Thomas.  Peace.