To Read the News or Not to Read the News

I don’t know about the rest of you, but lately, I’ve been pretty stressed by the state of the world. 

Maybe it’s just me. 

I find myself obsessively scrolling through news sites, scanning headlines. Clicking on the occasional article. Trying to figure out just what on earth is going on. 

And as I’ve done this, my level of stress and fear has risen. Significantly. I find myself restless. I can’t concentrate for very long. I’m struggling with feeling hopeless. I think ahead, start to think through plans for things that we could do in the near future and I stop. Well, maybe we can do that, as long as the country doesn’t self-implode. 

Have you noticed that both sides of the political spectrum have lost all faith that the other side is committed to a safe, fair election? We both think that the other side is going to cheat. And we both think that the other side will not accept losing. We both think that the other side is prepared to fight to have their candidate in place. And the media keeps egging us on. Sowing all kinds of doubts and fears. 

And it occurs to me that my life would be a lot more peaceful if I just avoided the news completely. And it’s tempting. It even sounds spiritual. Think on things that are good. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus. 

But you know, as Christians, we were called to be IN the world, but not OF the world. 

I live here. This is my planet. This is my country, my state, my city. The things that are happening affect my life. It is also a historic time. The decisions and events that are going on are unprecedented. We are watching history unfold before our eyes. I don’t feel like I can simply unplug and ignore everything. 

So then the question becomes, how do you maintain peace in such a time as this? 

I’ve been reading through Revelation the past couple weeks. Reading a chapter and then reading through commentaries to try and get some understanding. And I am reminded of what one of our pastors said about this book: the whole point is that Jesus wins in the end. 

And that is the answer. 

That is how I hold on to peace. 

In the end, all will be made well. Jesus knows what it is going on. He is not surprised. He is not watching the news and scratching his head in bewilderment. Revelation lets us know that there is a plan. None of this is random. We might not understand the timing and all the details, but we do understand that the earth is going to have to go through a time of judgement. And in the end…Jesus wins. 

And when I write that, I feel my shoulders dropping a couple inches. It’s ok. No matter how this life unfolds, the end story for me is eternity with Jesus. And I have his word that in the meantime, before eternity arrives, Jesus has promised to be with me. I am not alone and abandoned. I am walking side by side with my Savior through this craziness. 

And that is peace. 

Are You Ready?

Last night I dreamed that the sun didn’t come up. The sky was dark, covered in clouds. I kept waiting for things to start lighting up. And they just didn’t. I finally realized that we were in the middle of the day and it was still dark. Wasn’t this one of the things they talked about in the Bible in the book of Revelation? Wasn’t this one of the signs that Jesus was going to be coming back soon? In my dream I felt this shock. It’s happening. Do people realize this? I need to tell my family! I was trying to rush off to tell everyone I knew when all of a sudden there was a small break in the clouds, a little hole, and I realized that on the other side of this extremely thick, unusual cloud bank, the sun was still there! Wheew. Thank goodness. 

I’ve had several of these dreams lately. 

Each time, I am convinced, This is it. Jesus is just about to appear. And then it turns out it was a false alarm. But, each time, there is a little space in between, where I am convinced. And in that little bit of time, I start looking around me. I’m ready. I can’t wait for Jesus to be here. But most of the people around me aren’t ready. And there is a sense of running out of time. There’s no more time to tell you about Jesus. No more time to get everyone else ready. This is it. Game Over. 

Every time something big happens on a global scale, we Christians tend to pull out the book of Revelation. Is this a sign? Does this line up with what we’ve been reading about all our lives? Are we in the End Times?  While I can read Revelation and say, hmm, it sure does seem like a lot of this stuff is happening…I do know that, historically, Christians have thought they were in the End Times for a really long time. I think back in the year 999, people were convinced that the year 1000 was it. The end. All done. So yeah, we have a long history of being wrong. But here’s the thing. Everyone is going to meet Jesus. Either he’s going to show up in bright living color here on earth, or we are going to die and stand before him in judgement. There is no escaping it. So, the urgency of wondering whether people are ready or not is very real. Very necessary. 

Even if I don’t know what day Jesus is coming, I do know that the Coronavirus is coming. On Friday, according to the news, as of Saturday morning, 627 people died in Italy from the Coronavirus. I was talking to my husband last night about whether we should put our two daughters, who have asthma, in a closer quarantine. He was puzzled. What is that going to do? Do you really think you can keep them from ever getting exposed to the virus? Social distancing is slowing down the exposure of everyone to the virus, but in the end, I don’t know how we can avoid all getting exposed to it. And a small percentage, right now they are saying 2%, are going to die from that exposure. This is real. Not made up. People that we know personally are going to die. And, let’s say you totally avoid the virus, you are not one of the 2%, all is well. Well, hey. Statistically, 100% of all people die. Eventually. 

As someone who holds the key to life in her hands, I am feeling the need to share what I know with you. 

First. We are all created by God. Human life is not a biological accident. It was planned. We are God’s creation and he created us in his image. 

Second. We all have sinned, done the wrong thing. In our humanist way, we say, Well, I’m not perfect. We can all acknowledge that we aren’t Perfect. Right? Here’s the thing. God IS perfect. And he is perfectly Holy. He can not have any sin in him. Our sin keeps us separated from God. 

Third. There’s going to be a punishment for sin. The Bible says that the Wages of Sin is Death. Our punishment for sinning is death. There isn’t anything we can do about that. And I’m not just talking about the death of our body. I’m talking about eternal separation from God. 

Fourth, God loves us. He loves us so much that he came to earth, fully human, fully God, to die for our sins on the Cross. Jesus lived the perfect life. He didn’t sin. He did not deserve death. As a perfect person, he was the only one who could voluntarily take our place. He willingly died and took the punishment for our sins. So that our sin no longer had to separate us. 

Fifth. If we believe that Jesus is God and he came to earth and died for our sins, and if we repent of our sins and openly confess that He is now our Lord, and that we want to follow him and let him be the one who tells us what to do, then we can know that we are saved. When our earthly bodies die, we will go to heaven and live forever with Jesus. This is what we call Being Saved. 

When we are saved, Jesus not only becomes our Lord, the one we follow, he also becomes our friend. The one who listens to us and guides us and helps us in all things. 

If you would like a much more detailed version of what I just tried to explain, Click on this link The Roman Road .

Guys, I love all of you. I’m so glad that you have been willing to read my blogs. We are living in crazy times. I don’t want death to suddenly be looking you in the face, and you aren’t ready. I also don’t want you to have to live in fear. Death is scary. But if you know what is going to happen afterwards, it’s not nearly as scary. In fact, it can be something that you look forward to, in its proper time and place. 

I fully intend to live a long full life. But, I know that whenever my time to die comes, I will be excited. Finally. I get to see Jesus face to face. I want each of you to have that same confidence. 

If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me. There’s a place to contact me on the blog. 

May the Lord bless you and keep you during these crazy times. 

My Brain is Too Small

I’ve had a couple thoughts this week that have merged into one idea. This week I picked up one of George MacDonalds’ novels. Old-fashioned. Sometimes a bit heavy-handed with the moralizing. But a lot of wisdom packed into a little book. I’m about half-way through, still not sure if I want to commit to reading the whole book as it’s not my typical style that I enjoy. It moves slowly. But, I also find it to be soothing. I am confident that I am not going to run into any themes that go against my conscience, and I am certain that I’m going to run into ideas that make me pause and think and ponder. The insights into humanity are deep and cut right to the heart of the matter.

There is a scene in the book that stayed with me. A young boy is talking to his tutor about God, trying to understand the omniscience of God and being frustrated because he can’t wrap his mind around the idea. His tutor laughs and says he is trying to understand something that is so big it won’t fit in his brain. It’s like trying to fit 20 horses into a stable that only fits 10. This made me stop. It seems very counter-culture to me. Nowadays we like to assure our children that they can Do Anything. Be Anything. Achieve Anything. We don’t like to put any limits on our abilities. If you want to pursue that challenge, then Pursue it! I’m Confident in you! You can do Anything!! And then here in the book there is a tutor laughing at his pupil for trying to comprehend a large idea, saying his brain is not big enough to take it all in, and he should just leave it as a mystery. Hmm. I wasn’t quite sure what I thought of that.

Then this morning I sat and continued my Bible reading in the book of Revelation. There’s nothing like the book of Revelation to make you feel like your brain isn’t big enough to take in everything there is to know about God. I have read the book of Revelation several times over the years. I always get stuck. So many questions. What’s that? What does that mean? What’s going on? Why are they talking about that and then suddenly talking about this?? I’ve listened to different teachings and sermons on the book over the years and I can say that I have a couple good conclusions. God is in control. God wins in the end. God is Holy beyond my comprehension. Beyond that, everything is a little gray and fuzzy. And it occurred to me this morning, perhaps my brain is not really big enough to understand all of this fully. We’re talking about the nature of God and heaven and things in the spiritual realm. I live here on earth. My dealings are with people and the things of this world. While I am certainly supposed to grow in my knowledge of God and spiritual things, I think there is a limit to how far I can go in my understanding. How can I truly understand how heaven works until I go there? The Bible certainly drops many hints, but God never seems to think it’s important to try and spell out all the details carefully for us.

I find it a bit freeing to not have to understand everything. It’s kind of like laying down a heavy burden that I was never meant to carry. I am not saying that we should stop pursuing knowledge. I plan to continue to read Revelation and research and ask questions and understand as much of it as is possible, but it’s nice to know there are limits. Mystery is a Thing and faith makes that ok. I have faith that what the Bible says is true. I have faith that God is good. I have faith that He is in control. I will try to learn and understand everything I can, and the things I can’t understand, I can be at peace knowing that God’s got that too.