PPL Board Member, Rev. Jonathan B. Leach, reminds us that the antidote
for our culturally-induced fears is a healthy, optimistic hope
found in a solid grounding in God’s Word.
Does humanity stand today on the brink of annihilation? Your answer to that question depends upon the prophets to whom you’ve been listening. May I recommend to you God’s own word, the Bible?
We may profitably compare the Bible to many of the common, everyday helps and services on which we and our families rely. To the poor in spirit, the Bible’s a rich treasury of the abounding grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. It’s a schoolhouse: the ignorant learn here the answers to life’s most profound and persistent questions. The shallow and foolish who stumble upon God’s word find it to be a well-stocked larder and storehouse of godly wisdom. The lost—uncertain of his way—rejoices to discover in the Bible’s open pages a lamp to his feet and a light to his path.
The word of God is a veritable pharmacy—to cure those afflicted with the culturally-induced panics and brooding fears of our present age. The gracious covenant promises—those of him who cannot lie!—when ingested, become potent medicine for the worried mind. By these promises, God powerfully immunizes the believing soul against every debilitating fear and animates the heart and limbs with fresh courage.
Lately it was a pandemic-induced fear that paralyzed lives and economies across the world. A generation ago, it was a persistent US-Soviet “cold war” depleting the coffers and sapping the energies of the West. At one point along the way, we were actually having to face the “scientific” prospect of a pending global ice age! Rather than simply trust the living and true God (the fear of whom inoculates the believer against all other fears), unbelief requires that human civilization live under the dark shadow of some vague, but all-controlling, terror. Lost sinners live in fear. We spend our days relentlessly on the run from . . . something! If it’s not the living and true God we fear, then we’ll invent something else to take his place.
The false prophets at large in our culture urge upon us yet another bone on which frantically to gnaw: Will it be climate change, or a third world war, that very shortly exterminates human life on earth? These are the “pick-your-poison” options currently offered by the fearmongering prophets of Western media. Under the influence of such persistent, widespread fears, responsible citizens are pressured—even compelled—to surrender civil liberties and “unalienable rights,” ostensibly for the greater good of humanity. The less-than-responsible simply abandon themselves to eat, drink, and be merry . . . for tomorrow we die.
Let’s not fall for it again. Let’s not be hoodwinked by yet another “catastrophe” calculated to strip us of our God-given right—yes, duty—to live as the people our sovereign King Jesus liberated. Humanity’s grand finale will be neither of those two desperate (and unspeakably wasteful) options over which the false prophets fret. The everlasting God has spoken, and his word breaks the spell of the organized fear-mongers who wish to control us. On the heels of a genuine global disaster long ago, God said, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter and day and night shall not cease (Genesis 8:22).
God has spoken regarding the future survival of humanity as the pinnacle of creation, formed of dust, yet not of dust alone. Formed of dust, and then animated by the very breath of God to bear his image and likeness in the world. He’s spoken authoritatively on the matter of human value, and freed us from the fear of annihilation—whether by war, famine, pestilence, or any other disaster!
What’s our part in the survival and nurture of our own human species?
First, let’s commit ourselves to knowing and trusting the God of the Bible. This may involve taking the simple yet extreme step of turning off the fake and faithless news. At least it involves examining that news (with its copious layer of human opinion) through the filter of a more thoroughly Biblical worldview. Knowing and trusting the living God certainly demands that we take our Bibles off the shelf, blow off the dust, and begin reading about our true human origins, gracious continuance, and inherent value as his image-bearers.
Second, let’s raise our families to know and trust him. Let’s face it. It’s very easy for fathers to beget children. Somewhat more difficult for mothers to bear them. And just plain hard—for either parent alone, or both together—to raise them. But raising your wee tots to know God, to trust his word, and so to produce a vibrant new generation that proves to be a comfort and joy into old age—that’s an art before which all other arts pale. Your little ones are your canvas, and Biblical truth your brush and colors. With what lasting beauty will you—by the steady application of grace and grit—paint humanity’s future?
Finally, let’s leave a godly legacy for the generations yet to come. Our covenant God hasn’t mysteriously faded into oblivion. Nor does he relinquish control of history to second causes like rogue viruses, rogue nations, or changes in the weather. He “plays the long game.” And he wins it. Someone says, “But what about climate change? What about the imminent nuclear holocaust? What about the ongoing collapse of civilization?” Inspired by the Spirit to sing of a glorious future built upon a catastophic present, King David wrote,
All the ends of the earth will remember and turn themselves to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will worship before Thee. For the kingdom is the LORD’s, and He rules over the nations . . . A seed will serve Him; it will be told of the LORD to the coming generation. They will come and will declare His righteousness to a people who will be born, that He has performed it (Psalm 22:27-28, 30-31).