Beyond The Headlines
1 The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty;
The Lord has clothed and girded Himself with strength;
Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.
2 Your throne is established from of old;
You are from everlasting.
3 The floods have lifted up, O Lord,
The floods have lifted up their voice,
The floods lift up their pounding waves.
4 More than the sounds of many waters,
Than the mighty breakers of the sea,
The Lord on high is mighty.
5 Your testimonies are fully confirmed;
Holiness befits Your house,
O Lord, forevermore. - Psalm 93
Current events…there has never been a time in history where the current state of the world was more assessable and continuous than the time we live in now. The ability to obtain this instantaneous information has spawned a following of “Headline Chasers” and a society of perpetual outrage. It comes in flavors of whatever you desire, the political realm, Islamic terror, war, economics, doom and gloom as you like it. It conditions us to be addicted to outrage…what’s bothering you this week? The problem with any addiction is that it always wants more, in greater quantity to get you high.
I’ve known people who look literally fatigued from the never-ending onslaught of another village dead due to famine, military casualties, cops being killed, gangs running wild, economic downturns, homosexual agendas, political scandals/cover-ups and WORRIED, WORRIED, WORRIED SICK! We get worn out from hearing about all this constantly. Through it, we can become numb towards the awesome peace that Jesus has offered us.
We also easily forget that this instantaneous global exposure to information has only been around for a sliver of time that we have been here on this earth. It wasn't that long ago, that we were getting our information from a daily newspaper and could at least get a good night’s sleep, before we were exposed to what was wrong with the world in the next issue.
There are channels on TV that not only pipe in 24 hour news to your home, but also have 5 different sections on the same screen blocked off with different current affairs. World hunger on the right, NASDAQ quotes on the top, Obama wiretapping on the left, and a ticker scrolling across the bottom with a manifesto as to how Bruce Jenner is a hero written by a 4th grade class. All in HD! Start the day with an international humanitarian disaster and end it with a stock market meltdown.
I have to sit back and wonder if God’s people were supposed to live at a pace and mentality that is dictated by this culture. I wonder if a Christian was supposed to have so much raw information of the world at large.
Perhaps Matthew 24 can shed some light on this issue. Here we find Jesus’ earthly ministry winding down. His time is short, and the end is at hand. We see the disciples of Jesus coming to Him and asking about the end times and the end of the world.
Matthew 24: 1 Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. 2 And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.” 3 As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”4 And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. 6 You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. 8 But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.
It’s very easy to prescribe what Jesus is saying here as bad news. Wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, famine, nations against nations. And WHAT does he say about these headlines? Verse 6, “See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end.” In the place of the word “frightened” the KJV has “troubled” and the ESV “alarmed”. The point is, while you WILL hear about these things happening, do not be frightened, troubled or alarmed that they are occurring.
What is amazing about this passage is that Jesus is forewarning them. Jesus’ disciples know what to expect and know that they do not need to be distraught about it. We must understand that this is the prescription which we should be taking with this current culture that we are exposed to. Are we citizens of this world? Do we have so much at stake in it, that we become unraveled by its outcry of pain? Are we “American Christians” caught up in the political agenda of this country? Or are we Christians simply living in America?
Also, we see that “these things must take place.” There is a certain necessity to the violence, injustice, destruction and catastrophe in the world around us. It is a broken and cursed world. So Christians, above all people, should not be surprised, troubled, or distracted at this sad truth. We should be expecting these things, as our Lord has forewarned us. I understand you want perfection, but that will never occur in this world, until its destruction by God Almighty and a new Heavens and Earth are established. No matter what politician, business or social crusader promises otherwise, this world is cursed by the sinners who occupy it. Of course this is a tragic age… and we’re the ones that made it so. This message from Matthew 24 does not just pertain to the disciples of that era. The basic truths and struggles of the human heart do not change throughout time. We just insert different names, dates, and the list of victims. “There is nothing new under the sun.”
Do not occupy your mind trying to figure out why this place is broken, ugly or insensible. Do not be alarmed or dismayed at what is going on around you. Live your life beyond the headlines.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
And what an amazing peace it is…
- William Reagan