There’s an old saying that contains sage wisdom: “When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging!”
Over the last several weeks, our nation has been pushed into a hole. After riding an economic boom for the past few years, we suddenly find ourselves facing a public health crisis, potential economic calamity, and an uncertain future. How should Christians react to a barrage of negative news and mounting fears?
First of all, we should constantly remind ourselves — and our fellow believers — that our hope is not in our checking account, our 401K, our stockpile of food and necessities, or any other external person or thing. Our hope is in Christ alone.
Standing firmly on that Rock of Truth, we need to speak truth — to each other and to a world staggering in fear.
In Psalm 73, Asaph recorded with great honesty the sentiment he felt in a moment of discouragement. Witnessing the prosperity of the wicked and the temporal suffering of the righteous, his sense of justice was offended. As we witness people afflicted by an invisible contagion, our human tendency toward fear and anxiety mounts. It is tempting to express dismay instead of exhibiting Christian peace.
Asaph showed godly wisdom. He realized that if he had given voice to his concerns, he would have “betrayed the generation of Your children. When I pondered to understand this, it was troublesome in my sight” (Psalm 73:15-16). Demonstrating tough faith, he refused to allow his emotions to get the best of him — or cause others to stumble.
Despair is more infectious than COVID-19. When seasoned believers exhibit fear or anxiety, they undermine the tender faith of those who are younger in age or in the Lord. Some folks think they’re old enough to say anything they want; the truth is that we must be wise enough to know better.
Let me encourage every believer reading this article to manifest the wisdom of Asaph. Resolve to resist the enemy’s temptation to give in to fear or anxiety. Refuse to give voice to despair. Do not allow your emotions to override your faith. Instead, go into your prayer closet and practice Paul’s admonition in Philippians 4:
6) Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7) And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
The current crisis demonstrates in real time that those who have cast themselves adrift from biblical truth are tossed about in every storm. When gale-force winds blow, they risk being blown to destruction. Only those who have anchored themselves in Jesus will stand firm.
Our society has certainly devolved. Franklin Roosevelt once reassured America with the hopeful statement, “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself.” Now, many pundits and politicians proclaim the hopelessness of our economy, our society, and our future. On the other extreme, wishful pollyannas suggest that we merely hope in hope — as if rose-colored glasses will solve the challenges we face.
Christian hope is not built on such gossamer strands of nothingness. Jesus is our Blessed Hope. And we can hope in the promises of God in spite of our circumstances (2 Corinthians 1:20 and Hebrews 10:23).
Pastor Alistair Begg once shared the account of a camping trip he took as a young boy in Scotland. During a daytime hike, a mighty storm arose. Returning to their camp that evening, his troop found many of their tents blown away — some lost forever over a nearby cliff. Lying in his own tent that evening, Begg recalls thinking, “I’m glad this tent is not my permanent home. And, I’m glad I drove my tent stakes into solid ground.” How true.
We can be thankful that this world is not our permanent home. Jesus is even now preparing a place for us, a place where we will live in His presence forever. Until then, we can be thankful that our temporary tent stakes are driven into the Rock — secure even when the winds blow and the storms rage. In the words of David, “He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will never be shaken” (Psalm 62:2).
Jim Farr of Longview, Texas, recently pointed out that the reality we’re experiencing firsthand offers us a preview of what is to come — as well as assurance of what to expect soon and very soon. In the words of Gloria and Bill Gaither’s great song “The King is Coming:”
The marketplace is empty, no more traffic on the streets; All the builders’ tools are silent, no more time to harvest wheat; Busy housewives cease their labors, in the courtroom no debate; Work on earth is all suspended, as the King comes through the gate. O the King is coming, the King is coming.
He certainly is! With that in mind, receive this prayer Paul wrote to the believers in Rome: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).