by Niki Turner
My hubby took away my TV.
No, it's not like it sounds. He cancelled our current satellite subscription, and left it up to me to call, or not call, another provider. (They'll be here tomorrow ... I can't miss the season premieres of Castle and Vampire Diaries!)
But not having the news blaring in the background (I usually watch the local news while I make supper) over the last few days reminded me how negative the media has become, how hard it is to tell what's true and what's false, and what we need to pay attention to and what to safely ignore.
A full year before the next major U.S. election, wild political rhetoric swamps the media. Every storm forming in the Atlantic has the potential to be another Hurricane Katrina. Every weather forecast is a potential record-breaker. Whatever you eat (or abstain from) is a possible cause of cancer or heart disease. Every germ threatens to be the next SARS or swine flu or some other dreadful epidemic. Disaster looms on the world's horizon no matter where you turn.
What's a believer to do?
Jesus knew these days were coming, and gave us some instructions ahead of time.
Notice He didn't say "Quick! Jump on the panic wagon!" (Remember Y2K? That was embarrassing.) He didn't tell us to crawl in a hole somewhere and hide with our supplies of dehydrated food. What is our response to current events to be? We're supposed to look up and lift up our heads.
25 "And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; 26 men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near." (Lk 21:25-28 NKJV - emphasis mine)
The Greek word "look up" is the word anakupto (an-ak-oop'-to), which implies a sense of reversal and rising; or figuratively, to be elated. To "lift up" is the word epairo (ep-ahee'-ro), sometimes defined as to poise or position.
Current events, no matter what natural position you take, are scary. Jesus said men's hearts would fail them just from the fear and expectation (there's scriptural proof that stress and anxiety cause heart disease.) Things look BAD, and yes, they are probably going to look worse the closer we get to Christ's return.
Our small town's Fourth of July fireworks display is a big deal. There's a bit of jockeying for position every year. To get the best seats, we go down to the park hours ahead of time and shiver under blankets with hot coffee in hand, looking up at the star-sprinkled sky, as close as we can possibly get to the coming display and celebration.
And so, as events unfold, we need to remind ourselves (and each other) of the hope we have in Christ Jesus. We have no need to fear. What's coming is our eternal redemption, and that's something to look forward to. We ought to be elated, positioning ourselves for the coming of our Lord in love, rejoicing, and grace, with a ready explanation for our hope to those who are terrified.
Or, as The Message Bible renders Luke 21:27-28:
"And then – then! – they'll see the Son of Man welcomed in grand style – a glorious welcome! When all this starts to happen, up on your feet. Stand tall with your heads high. Help is on the way!"If that's not comforting, I don't know what is.