It's not been a happy, happy, happy week in Washington.
National leaders usually try to cool the rhetoric so we don't panic. Not these past few days. They're saying things folks like that just don't say.
You know something's up when the Secretary of Defense says in a press conference, "The world is exploding all over."
A leader in the U. S. Senate tells us, "The world is in greater turmoil than at any time in my lifetime."
Then the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff - the top military official we've got - talks about the metastasizing terror movement in the Middle East. He describes it as "an organization that has an apocalyptic, end-of-days strategic vision." Disturbing.
Sweet dreams, everybody. Have fun this weekend!
As a follower of Jesus, I pray, "Lord, help me to see what You see when you look at our world today." And He does. I see three messages from heaven - and reasons for hope - in the mayhem of our times.
1. "This is no time for business as usual."
God has long predicted a time when "evil men...will go from bad to worse" (2 Timothy 3:13). When "there will be terrible times" (2 Timothy 3:1). And "because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold" (Matthew 24:12). Jesus called it "the last days."
So for those of us who belong to King Jesus, it's a time to charge, not retreat. To live like heaven is home and earth is just my hotel. Pouring my life and resources into what will matter forever, not just for a fleeting moment.
Like helping the people around me be ready for eternity. Knowing that whatever my situation, Jesus has put me there to represent Him. To help people be in heaven with us someday.
It's too late in the game to be clinging to a comfort zone, a Christian cocoon. There's a lost world for whom time is running out.
2. "God's got this."
"He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth...surely the nations are like a drop in the bucket" (Isaiah 40:22, 15). So, "when the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do? The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord is on His heavenly throne" (Psalm 11:3-4).
No president, no prime minister, no army, no terrorists will rule the future. The Lord of history "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty" (Revelation 1:8) writes our destiny. I've placed my life in those all-powerful hands. So I can watch the ever-turbulent evening news knowing my Father is in charge. Living with urgency, but not with fear.
3. "You don't have to worry, but you do need to care."
An exploding world leaves in its wake a multitude of bleeding people. Orphans. Starving people. Rivers of shell-shocked refugees. Victims of religious persecution.
Jesus still says how we treat "the least of these" is how we're treating Him. So we can't just sit on our couch and watch the suffering.
We can't fix the world. But we can let what breaks God's heart break our heart. Enough to bear the burdens of a hurting world and carry them to the Throne of God in prayer. Enough to spend less on ourselves so we can give something to help them.
Extraordinary times. I can sleep through them. I can hide from them. Or I can play like it's late in the game and it's time to play for keeps.
Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man, said it pretty well when he realized he could make a difference with the power he had:
"For me, to live an ordinary life is no longer an option."