So Much Has Changed

So much has changed for all of us in the last few months.  Everyone has been to Businessman in the citydegrees focused on the threats and risks, the potential for long-term harm to health and the economy, the political implications, the news cycle, the conspiracies and misinformation, and all that is trending negative.  Anxiety is increasing and people have been stuck at home worrying about the future.
Now, once again, so much has changed, just as we are moving our of the “stay-at-home” phase of response to the pandemic.  What appears clearly to be an on-duty police officer murdering a handcuffed, subdued arrestee, a black man that the officer is reported to have had prior conflict with while off-duty.  This, following the death of an innocent citizen, a medical first responder, a black woman killed in her own home by the police who were executing a no-knock search warrant at the wrong address.  It is clear that in these two cases, protesting police brutality is an appropriate societal response.
george-floyd-protests-memorial
In the first case, the response by the police to the apparent murder is to fire the officers involved and to charge the alleged killer with the murder and the other officers who did not intervene with being accessories to the crime.  Appropriate charges.  The response to the case of the wrong-address shooting has been essentially to continue with business as usual, with no acknowledgement of wrongdoing and not even an investigation so far.  That is irresponsibility by the organization, its leadership, and the governments that operate above them.
antifa2
Now, once again so much has changed, as anarchists, Marxists, and other groups have jumped in to take over the protests of brutality and turn them into attempts to incite civil unrest, violence, and mayhem.  This is a significant threat to order and civil liberties for all of us.
Yet so much more has not changed, not in the last few months and indeed not ever.  Few people are focused on these important factors.  The news cycle is way too loud right now, and like a train wreck it grabs our attention and makes it hard to look away.
What has not changed?
  1. Our God is still in total control.  Nothing that is happening will be a surprise to Him, and nothing will happen outside of His will.  He knows, and He cares about each one of us individually.  Nothing will happen to any of us who truly follow Him while He is looking the other way.
  2. That on which we focus will define these times for us.  If we focus on the news cycle, the conspiracy and blame theories, political solutions and government interventions, our stash of food and other supplies and the locks on our doors, and/or our fears, these will define this event for us.  If we focus on our God, our surrender to Him in everything, on His Holy Spirit in us, on His word for us, and on true God-focused fellowship with other believers, these will define this event for us.
  3. Hardships and comforts come from our God to us.  Always have, and always will.  The hardships are uncomfortable, but are not bad.  We would do well to embrace these hardships knowing that our God will work through them in us if we do.  We do not want to waste a good hardship in our lives by complaining, fearing, or being faithless and godless in our response.
  4. Difficult ordeals are being shared by our brothers and sisters around the world.  For many of them in communist and Muslim countries, hardships are normally as bad or worse than these.  Look outside your own situation and remember your spiritual family around the community and the world.  Pray for them more than for “us.”  The early Irish Christians said that “prayers are best when they are spread wide.”
  5. Turning to our God for guidance and growth in these times is critical.  If you want to experience His guidance and growth, turn off the TV, open the Bible, get on your knees, read great spiritual writers, don’t go to the radio or podcasts for comfort, don’t over eat.  Pray for your neighborhood, house by house.  Do it while walking around so you can also get your exercise.  Why not walk and pray over the entire community?
From Psalm 16:1-5 we can see how David views it:

“Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”  I say of the holy people who are in the land, “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”  Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more. I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods or take up their names on my lips.  Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.”

The keys to David’s perspective?  He finds his refuge in his God, and nowhere else.  His only good things are the things of his God, not the things of this world and this life.  He remembers his brothers and sisters.  He does not run after the “gods” of the peoples – food stashes, governments, television and radio, politics, fear and worry.  The Lord alone is his portion in this life and the fulfillment of his cup of need.

Is this true of us?  I hope so.  Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your circumstances and responses know your God, and He will direct your heart and mind.  It is still good to wear a mask in public.  It is still wise to wash your hands.

Photos via: USA Herald, LOM.com, Leprent.com, The Liberal

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