By Megan Rawlings
Our world is in chaos. It seems as if major bad news breaks every day! As this chaos occurs, society seems increasingly to be motivated by materialism and comfort.
When the church was young, the people of Galatia turned away from God, and this did not escape Paul’s attention. In fact, he penned one of his harshest letters to the Christians there. While reading that letter, I realized Paul’s reprimand is applicable to us in modern times. I’ll borrow from his Epistle to the Galatians to state some hard truths surrounding our current status.
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ (Galatians 1:6-7).
In this age, I am most concerned about the “different gospel” of comfort and ignorance. Not the comfort we find in Christ, but the comfort found in materialism.
I saw an ad on social media that provoked rage in me like I have never experienced before. The ad promoted a conference for moms. That wasn’t bad in itself. Unfortunately, the whole concept of the conference centered on the terribly difficult lives middle-class American mothers face today because of the amount of time they spend raising children. The ad “explained” that the world needs to serve and encourage these women more while ensuring a manageable life with reduced stress. I won’t pretend to understand the pressures of being a mother; however, after watching 10 minutes of national and international news in August and hearing from missionaries about hardships in Afghanistan and other closed countries, I completely lost sympathy for comparatively affluent people who are looking for easier and more comfortable lives.
Reality check. Most of the pressures and stressors of being an American are brought on by us constantly trying to buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like. Meanwhile, we’re seeing earthquakes in Haiti, civil unrest in the Middle East, and persecution of the underground church where people literally risk death to gather. So, please, tell me how choosing between taking your kids to soccer practice and going to church is causing you mental anguish.
Three Solutions from God’s Word
So, what are we to do? Let’s look at what the Bible says.
Jesus’ earliest followers were known for “turning the world upside down.” God used these Christians to challenge the status quo and take a stand for what was right. They were willing to risk their lives for their faith. It didn’t stop with them, though. We are expected to carry on. But, you may be thinking, how am I supposed to stay strong in my faith during this unprecedented time in my life?
Well, you can’t . . . without God’s help.
Thankfully, God has given us pointers on serving him despite how we feel or what is happening in the world. These three things jolt us back into representing Christ well, despite our first-world comforts (or lack thereof).
First, “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). We cannot fight these battles alone—we desperately need God’s help and guidance. Yes, the world is in chaos and turmoil, but God isn’t at all worried, for he knows the end from the beginning. And here is some more good news: He wants us to stay in communication with him because he is the only true source of peace. He’s got it all under control. At times it may not feel comfortable or convenient, but we are expected to pray.
Second, rejoice always. Paul said in Philippians 4:4, “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” And that’s not the only time being joyous is mentioned in the New Testament. James 1:2-4 says we should even count it as joy when we are in trials and tribulations because the more we lean on God for our strength, the more our faith is developed. (I know—it sounds crazy, but it’s in there!) Just remember this: happiness is temporary, but joy can be experienced no matter what’s going on around us.
Finally, be thankful in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18). That means even when we are overwhelmed, disappointed, struggling, or can’t afford the latest fashion accessory. Have you ever considered that our gratitude can be lacking when things go well? Now is a good time to thank God for what he has done, is doing, and will do for us. He loves us so much!
Church, we must do better. The year 2021 is coming to a close, and we’ve collectively been shaken to the core. We are trying to plan for holidays, despite not knowing what that might look like. I cannot tell you whether we will have a “normal” Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. I cannot promise you will be able to embrace your loved ones. I cannot tell you when this madness will end. I have no answers for a pandemic that has flipped the world upside down. And while this column has included some tough words, I don’t mean to minimize your struggles. I just want to help you gain perspective. Pray, rejoice, and be thankful. I promise, God is in control.
Megan Rawlings serves as vice president of planned giving with The Solomon Foundation. She is the founder and CEO of The Bold Movement. She is an extrovert, pastor’s wife, and lover of the Scriptures.
What a blessing to read this. I thank God everyday for everything his has provided for me. This year my word is service, something I have been weak in my whole life until now. I pray that Hod will open that door for me. May you & your family have blessed 2022. Thank Father God.