We are at war. The world is a crazy, scary place. Children are being sold into slavery, terrorists are attacking innocent victims and no one knows where Isis will strike next. This newest bombing in New York and New Jersey confirms that the U.S. is not immune from tragedy. Since 9/11, the world has become a place filled with uncertainty, and our current political candidates seize every opportunity to prey on people’s fears.
In an article posted on cnn.com, writer Julian Zelizer says,
The New York Times editorial board published a blistering piece about Trump’s influence, writing, “The Republican rivals rushing to distance themselves from his latest inflammatory proposal … have been peddling their own nativist policies for months or years. They have been harshening their campaign speeches and immigration proposals in response to the Trump effect.” Trump’s embrace of the politics of fear is not that surprising. There is a long tradition in campaigns of candidates who have played to the worst sentiments of the electorate during times when there are serious national security threats. Playing to fears can help candidates gain attention from the news media and the electorate, and it offers an easy way to depict their opposition as incapable of leading. According to a recent New York Times/CBS News poll, fears of terrorism have boosted Trump’s position. 1
It’s easy to idealize the past, before the days when there weren’t daily terrorist threats, we got our news from seemingly reputable sources and our every move wasn’t broadcast for everyone to see.
But God doesn’t want us to look back; he wants us to move forward and deal head on with the calamities that befall our world today. In Luke 10:1-3, Jesus gives His disciples a specific command before sending them out into the world: “He told them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.”’ I can imagine His disciples trembled with fear as they made their trek into their world, uncertain if they would be accepted or not. Even today as we deal with the same uncertainty, we are inclined to feel hopeless as to what to do, feeding the fear that is buried deep within our souls.
So, what can we do to remain fearless in the face of such uncertainty?
Trust in the Word. Did you know the Bible states the command “Do not fear” more than 365 times? That’s one for every day of the year! This should give us as Christians hope that even in the most chaotic of situations, God is still in control. No matter what persecution comes our way, Christians can take heart, for God has overcome the world.
Trust In Others. The disciples had no possessions on which to rely. They only had each other and the kindness of other followers. Jesus wanted to rid them of an independent spirit that made the disciples not rely on others, but on themselves. Other people who identified themselves as Christ followers demonstrated this as they took in those disciples and met their needs. Our churches contain within their walls people who identify themselves as Christ followers and trust in Him, even when the world seems uncertain. Surround yourselves with those people. They may not have a specific answer on how to restore the world to peace, but they know the One who does. They may not give you any specifics on how to change the world, but at least you’ll feel as if you’re not alone.
Trust God. Jesus, when scoffers mocked, flogged and accused him of blasphemy, could have fought back. With just one word he could have called the whole thing off. But He didn’t. He remained silent. What was He doing in His silence? Considering He took time from His ministry to connect with His Father, I can imagine He was praying in those moments. Instead of fighting back or posting racial remarks on Facebook, get on your knees. Jesus warned us persecution would happen to those who followed Him. We can’t get angry when those prophetic words begin to come true.
Trust Your Gut. if you see something, say something is a good rule of thumb for life. Just because we know persecution is coming, doesn’t mean we can’t do our best to stop something from happening. If you see someone acting erratically or any suspicious activity, report it. Find an authority figure that can diffuse the situation or investigate your claim. Saving a life could be as simple as one call to the police.
There’s no answer on how to stop what is going on in our world. But if we don’t rely on fear- based news reports but rather on the peace that comes from knowing God, we can fight fear in the midst of chaos.
Michelle S. Lazurek is a multi-award winning author, speaker, pastors’ wife and mother. She loves helping people reach their potential and writes for various websites such as Christianity Today’s Gifted for Leadership and The Christian Communicator. Her newest book An Invitation To The Table helps people incorporate hospitality into their everyday lives. To learn more about Michelle, visit her website and follow her on Twitter at @mslazurek or onFacebook.
1 Julian Zelizer, “How Donald Trump Plays the Politics of Fear.” http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/13/opinions/zelizer-trump-and-gop/