Today I sat and looked, really looked, at each of my three children’s faces. I watched the certain quirky movements of their mouths as they told me stories. I really took in the subtly different hues of their deep ocean eyes. I hugged them tight and tried to scorch the feeling into my brain–the feeling of my own precious babies in my arms. And, I wondered what this terrifying world has in store for them.
It’s so easy sometimes to sit here in our near perfect small town, soaking up the beauty of a simple childhood. We can almost forget. We can almost deny that the world is as broken as its ever been. But, the news is always, constantly streaming into our lives from all around the world.
And, the news is bad.
I check Facebook and all of social media looks like a minefield, full of Christians fighting each other, all claiming to be the right ones. All claiming some sort of spiritual superiority, as we work to figure out what’s to be done with all of the savagery of the planet where we live. All debating issues about which we have little information or knowledge or understanding or wisdom.
We are so puffed up with our false humility. With our certainty that we know just what Christ would do and, lo and behold, He would do just what we think ought to be done. So many Christians claiming that if we are afraid we are weak. That if our hearts are stricken with terror when we face terrifying things, we are somehow denying Christ.
But, come now. We are all afraid.
And, we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses. I have no doubt at all that when I was holding my children in my arms today, Jesus understood why my heart ached with dread at the thought that they may face real terrorism in their lifetime. He felt the trembling in my spirit as I watched news accounts of bombings around the world. He, who once trembled in a garden the night before He faced the atoning for sin, feels compassion for His children when they are quaking inside.
And yet, He calls us to trust Him. So, we do. Even in our wobbly state. Because we know the only way that we can face all of the scary things in this life, the only way we can trudge through the tragedy and find the joy in the middle of the heartache, is to completely depend on our Savior and Lord to carry us through it all. We are not meant to have a spirit of fear. But, when we do, He keeps His sweet, firm grip on us and He never, ever lets go.
As for the social media war zone, it could use a little of the peace that everyone keeps preaching about.
I remember an old episode of The Twilight Zone called “The Monsters are Due on Maple Street.” Throughout the program, weird things happen in a peaceful little neighborhood. Lights go on and off by themselves. Cars won’t start and then start when no one is near them. In less than an hour, old friends begin to turn on each other, and at one point, in a panic, one neighbor shoots his friend, believing that he is some menacing figure approaching. The episode ends with a shot of two aliens sitting on a hill overlooking the neighborhood. One comments to the other that it is so easy to create just enough chaos to cause humans to turn on each other: We just let them destroy themselves.
Maybe we Christians are helping ISIS more than we know, just by allowing their actions to make us turn on one another in such wounding and prideful ways. We should be united in this: while we may have fears, we trust God wholeheartedly with our lives, our souls, our families. We admit that we are all weak. And we choose to love each other in our weakness, regardless of our political stances.
Not a single one of us is God. Or God’s gift to humanity. Or God’s gift to Facebook statuses. But, we are the light of the world. Let’s shine, however fearfully, instead of wasting our energy trying to decide which political camp is more in tune with God. May we always remember that knowing Him at all is miraculous.