“The Calm in the Midst of the Storm!”
The unending siren of alarming news is coming at us from many directions. “Breaking News.” “Global Pandemic.” “Economic Catastrophe.” “Experts Say.” “The Greatest Crisis Since .” And on and on it goes with, whether on cable news, talk radio, podcasts, or news conferences. The confusion, chaos, and consternation that swirl around us threaten to throw us off balance if we are not properly grounded in the truth. Recently, in the face of Covid-19, widespread political tension, and mind-bendingly dumb decisions by government officials and even the Supreme Court, I thought back to a song that I first heard in the late 1980’s by Randy Stonehill. An early leader in the contemporary Christian music scene, Stonehill had an eclectic style, but his way of commenting on culture was ahead of his time. In his song, “Stop the World,” he wrote:
“Right is wrong and wrong is right; White is black and black is white.
I think I just lost my appetite; Stop the world I want to get off.” In the chorus, he continued:
“Stop the world, I want to get off; This is too weird for me.
Stop the world, I want to get off; I've just got to find a planet, where they're interested in sanity.”
Though this song was true when it was written decades ago, it is certainly more so today. Believers, if they are not careful, can get caught up in the maelstrom of confusion if they focus their eyes in the wrong places or have their hearts set on the wrong things. It is far too common in online discussions, and even in personal relationships, for people to assert as “proven facts” what are in reality differences of opinion. Each one picks his own set of “experts” and “reliable sources” to trust. The problem is that we often choose to listen only to those sources that agree with our preconceived ideas. All other “experts” can be safely ignored, dismissed, or even accused as being part of the problem and not the solution.
It is expected that unbelievers will act in this way. It is discouraging – and displeasing to the LORD – when believers do the same. Our only source of sure, true, and unchanging information is the Word of God. Our only hope is found in His character, and the only Kingdom that will last forever is His. Therefore, I make an appeal that we work hard in these days to promote unity and clarity among ourselves. To do so will require us to lay down our rhetorical weapons, lower the emotional temperature of our hearts, and turn our attention to the Word of God. In the rest of this article, I will briefly lay out things in which we can and cannot place our trust. And I will call upon the Holy One and His Word as my main witness.
The Bible says that we are not to put our trust in princes. Included in that broad category would include kings, presidents, judges, or any other human authority.
Ps. 146:3-4: “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.”
Ps. 118:9 – “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.”
We are not to put our ultimate trust in our armies. This symbolizes all displays of human strength (science, medicine, education, etc.).
Ps. 20:7: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”
Ps. 34:16: “The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue.”
We are not to put our ultimate trust in money. This would include all of our resources and material riches.
Prov. 11:28: “Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf.”
1 Tim. 6:17: “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.”
Matt. 6:19-21: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
However, we are commanded to put our trust in the LORD.
Prov. 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
We are to trust in His Word.
Ps. 19:7-9: The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.”
We are to trust in His Son.
Heb. 1:1-3: “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,”
We are to trust in His Spirit.
Zech. 4:6: “Then he said to me, ‘This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.’”
Psalm 118:8 offers the best summary of these things: “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.”
I recognize that for many of us, these are not new ideas. Let this be a good reminder of the source of our ultimate truth and confidence. For others, however, this is a challenge to control our fears and to slow down our declarations. God is still firmly and fully in control of His universe and only what He has said on a subject is true and unchanging. Nothing takes Him by surprise and nothing will thwart His divine and eternal decrees. That is a sure hope upon which we all can rest.
Friends, as we navigate our way through this “new normal” that is 2020, I invite you to join me in putting your trust fully in the LORD, and praying for His will to be done, in our lives, in our church, and in our world.