Okay. I’ll admit it. I am troubled by the times. From the point of view of someone who believes that there is such a thing as “truth” and that such truth has as its basis and origin a Creator, our culture seems to be waging war against the idea of a divine standard and, therefore, the One Who upholds that standard.
I am troubled by our society’s “drift” from God becoming a complete freefall from any consciousness of Him and all conviction of moral uprightness. I am troubled by our government’s redefining the value of life in entertaining “end-of-life counseling” as well as its rabid support of anti-life (pro-abortion) legislation. I am troubled by the notion that Christianity has become culturally marginalized as if Biblical values have no place in public policy and are therefore interpreted as being irrelevant. I am troubled by the saturation of unrestrained sensuality that constantly surrounds our children, the reckless and senseless “normalization” of violence as being nothing more than entertainment (particularly when slash-and-gore movies make their rounds in the fall), and the attitudes of rebellion and dishonor to parents that are popularized in music and popular television. I am troubled by churches that claim to belong to God on the one hand and yet shrug off His Word on the other. And I am troubled by apathy and powerlessness that often characterizes Christians in general.
But although I may feel troubled, the promises of God have a way of reining my anxieties in. This is not the first time that the people of God have lived in disconcerting times and have faced disconcerting circumstances. In fact, Christians today need to remember to Whom they belong, Whose blood was spilled for them, and Whose promises never fail.
We need not be afraid of the times, nor of policies that are contrary to God’s Word, neither do we need fear increasing disfavor in our society’s eyes. Instead, we ought to continue to fear the Lord Whose hand still governs the nations and holds the entire universe in its grasp.
“The LORD spoke to me with His strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people. He said, ‘Do not call conspiracy everything that these people call conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The LORD Almighty is the One you are to regard as holy, He is the One you are to fear, He is the One you are to dread, and He will be a sanctuary; but… He will be a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. And… He will be a trap and a snare. Many… will stumble; they will fall and be broken, they will be snared and captured.’ Bind up the testimony and seal up the Law among My disciples. I will wait for the LORD… I will put my trust in Him” (Isaiah 8:11-17 NIV).
For many today, the Lord is very much “a trap and a snare” (see verse 14) because a genuine faith in God that compels people to make radical choices for their lifestyles and values is just too much to ask for some. True disciples that establish boundaries for what is acceptable and what is not, choosing obedience to His Word over comfort and convenience, are rarer and rarer in a world that worships freedom from restraint and responsibility. Many have indeed stumbled (see verse 15) and live now only a watered down spiritual life. And so they have become captured (also in verse 15), held hostage to the whims of society and fearful of taking a stand for the values of God.
“Surely wickedness burns like a fire; it consumes briers and thorns, it sets the forest thickets ablaze, so that it rolls upward in a column of smoke” (Isaiah 9:18 NIV).
Nevertheless, if you are His child, then do not fear. It may seem that the shadows of our times have lengthened to a twilight of hope. But if you walk a life that is humbled before the Lord, trusting His promises, and strive to be obedient to His Word, then you can expect the light of His love being shed abroad in your experience.
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned” (Isaiah 9:2 NIV).
Be reminded that the light of Jesus Christ is greater than the darkness of human sin. Be comforted in knowing that the willful and wanton rebellion of a nation does not trump the grace of God which covers His people for all eternity. Yes, we continue to proclaim and hold fast to the truth of Christ. Yes, we continue to seek godliness in our homes, for our families, and even in how we conduct ourselves at work or in school. Yes, we will frequently be derided for faith in God and godly conviction. But our eyes are not on our circumstances, they’re on God. Our ears are not open to the public opinion, but to the voice of God. Our hands are not quick to win the favor of those who do not know God, but are ready and available to serve the One Who not only always speaks truth but IS truth.
“The LORD loves the just and will not forsake His faithful ones. They will be protected forever, but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off; the righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever. The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is just. The law of his God is in his heart; his feet do not slip. The wicked lie in wait for the righteous, seeking their very lives; but the LORD will not leave them in their power…. Wait for the Lord and keep His way. He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off, you will see it” (Psalm 37:28-34 NIV).