It seems to me that each day that goes by, the world gets a little crazier and a little crazier. It really shouldn’t be a surprise to any of us since God warned us this would happen in 2 Timothy 3:1-5. Paul wrote to Timothy under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit: “But know this: Difficult times will come in the last days. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of godliness but denying its power.” I think this is a pretty accurate description of our world today. Yet this isn’t the first time the world has reached this point. In the days of Noah, the world was so full of sin that God destroyed the world with a flood. For 120 years Noah built and prepared the ark as God instructed, all while the people mocked him. In fact, Jesus said “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:37-29). Just as they did in Noah’s day, people today go on with their everyday lives ignoring the signs that God gave us in the Bible and they will continue to do so until it is too late.
Even though our world is fulfilling the words of Paul, as a Christian we can find hope…even in the midst of tragedy. Isaiah 46:10 tells us the God is in control, from the very moment He created the world until it’s very last second of existence. “I declare the end from the beginning, and from long ago what is not yet done, saying: My plan will take place, and I will do all My will.” Satan may have a grand time making the world run amuck, God will see that His will wins in the end. In Psalm 37:18, the Bible says, “The Lord watches over the blameless all their days, and their inheritance will last forever.” On Sunday, November 5, 2017 a gunman walked into a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas and began shooting, killing at least 26 people and injuring another 20. Among the deceased was the 14 year old daughter of the pastor. How do we live in such a world?
In John 14:27, Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world give do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Peace, as defined by the world is the “freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility, freedom from or the cessation of war or violence.” If that’s the definition of peace, then we can pretty much bet on never experiencing it in this life. Jesus offers a different kind of peace, on that quiets our hearts no matter what the circumstances. It’s the peace in the midst of a storm that lets us know that God is with us and He will never leave us. This kind of peace is a gift from God and one aspect of who He is (see 1 Thessalonians 5:23, 1 Peter 1:2, Galatians 6:16, and Hebrews 13:20). Since God is peace, we can experience the peace that Jesus spoke of only when we take time to quiet our hearts, bask in His presence, and draw close to Him. The more time we spend with Him, developing a relationship with Him, the more we know of his deep love for us and we are able to trust Him even when tragedy strikes. The pastor of the church in Texas, even after losing his own daughter, quoted Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” He went on to declare that his church would not cower in fear, but would continue to worship God. My friends, he understands the peace that Jesus gives. He has learned that the Lord is refuge and that he is able to run to the arms of God and draw on that peace, get strength, and trust Him even when it makes no sense to him. He knows that Psalm 91:1 says, “He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
This pastor, his congregation and the community will have many difficult days ahead as they process the countless losses they have experienced. If I could, I would wrap each and every one of them in my arms, cry with them, pray with them, and express how broken my heart is for this chaotic world that lives as in the days of Noah. Yet, they have the arms of God wrapped around them and that is far better than mine. Will you join me in praying for this community and that the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard their hearts and minds through Christ Jesus? (Philippians 4:7) Will you also commit to praying with me for a revival to sweep across our nation and our world…we desperately need it!