Do you remember that song by R.E.M. from the ’80s? It had a catchy little tune, and it lists at length a number of generic horrible things happening at the time.
That was almost thirty years ago, and I’d say things have only gotten worse. Just in the past two weeks alone, it seems American society has lost its ever-loving mind and is circling the drain.
Here is my question: why are Christians shocked?
Ungodly people are doing ungodly things in the name of their ungod, and we, Christians who actually have the answer, are running around like chickens with our heads cut off, acting all shocked and surprised and outraged at what has happened. We should be the least surprised people on this planet.
And sisters, this really is the end of the world as we have known it. There is no going back. What you and I grew up with? It’s gone; it’s time to put on our armor and go to war for Christ. Are you ready?
Jesus Warned Us This Would Happen
I truly believe we are at the beginning of the end. I don’t care what end times prophetic camp you fall under, you cannot deny what Jesus said in Matthew 24 is looking more and more like it’s happening. In Matthew 24:4, Jesus says, “Watch out no deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.”
Sisters, we are just in the birth pain stage. And Jesus HIMSELF told us not to be alarmed by these things. If you read all of Matthew 24 (which I encourage you to do today) you will see that Jesus also says no one knows when He will return. It could happen today (oh, please Lord Jesus, come!), or we could just be at the beginning of a very long period of persecution. But we, as Christians, especially as women who claim to love the Word, should stop acting surprised every time something else happens.
Paul Tells Us Persecution Should be Expected
In I Thessalonians, Paul writes “We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God’s fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well that we were destined for them. In face, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know.” (I Thess. 3:2-4) Now, I realize exegetically that Paul is specifically writing about himself in these passages, but we can draw out from these verses the principle that persecution should not ever be a surprise; suffering (for a Christian) is not an unknown factor to following Christ.
We tend to think of persecution and suffering as very personal experiences; we think that if we are going to be persecuted or suffer for our faith it will come as a personal attack. But we need to remember that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the current ruler of this world. We are at war with the enemy, and any attack that undermines our confidence and hope in Christ could easily be labeled as persecution and suffering. So expect it, dear sister; expect to face suffering, persecution, and to have your hope and faith put to the test. Don’t be surprised; be prepared.
The Proper Reaction
Let me be the first to tell you that I don’t have all the answers, but I do have THIS answer: put your hope and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Hebrews 10:35a says “Do not throw away your confidence.” This is in the midst of the Hebrew writer’s exhortation to cling to your faith – to persevere through suffering. Isn’t the fear, anxiety, and uncertainty we are all facing in the United States today a form of suffering? Do not throw away your confidence in Christ. Cling to Him. I Peter 1:8 encourages us that “though you have not seen Him, you love Him.” It is hard to see Jesus sometimes, and we will not see Him face-to-face until He calls us to Him, but we can cling to Him with our hope and faith anyway.
But I know many of you want practical answers. What do I do right now? What do I do in XYZ situation?
1) Memorize Scripture – I’m sure that’s not at all where you thought I would go, but it is. Hide God’s Word in your heart. Nothing brings peace to any situation like the Word of God, and one of the Holy Spirit’s jobs is to bring to your remembrance all that Jesus (God) had spoken. If you have memorized Scripture, the Holy Spirit will bring it to you when you need it most. Look up verses on peace, anxiety, fear, God’s sovereignty, trust, protection…whatever aspect of our current culture is hardest for you today, find verses to reorient yourself to Truth and start with those.
2) Protect Your Children – okay. I’m going to get on my little soapbox. If your child isn’t old enough to understand what is happening in culture today, keep them away from it. Our son is 6 1/2. Do you know what he knows about the last two weeks? Some bad things happened in France, and some policemen were killed. He is not old enough, mature enough, wise enough, etc., to process anything else. We do not discuss this around him, we do not watch or listen to news around him, and now that he can read, I am exceptionally careful about keeping social media “on” around him. You are having a hard enough time processing this as a grown adult; you don’t need a child with tantrums, nightmares, and unexplainable panic attacks adding to your stress.
3) Be Very Discerning – there are thousands of voices chiming in about what is happening. Your pastor, my pastor, his pastor, her pastor…famous pastors, not-so-famous pastors, wannabe famous pastors, and people who think they’re pastors but aren’t all have opinions and ideas about culture, race, Islam, terrorism, the election, etc. You need to filter absolutely every single thing you read and hear through the Word of God (even what I write. Especially what I write; please hold me accountable in that way!). I have heard some downright insane things coming out of the mouths of preachers in the past few weeks…and if I had a dollar for every time someone mentioned II Chronicles 7:14 as some sort of magical dream verse to pray over America, I’d be stinkin’ rich! Filter every thing you hear through Scripture, and only listen to that which aligns to the Word of God – the Truth of Him who is our Creator.
4) Pray – I know. Like I have to mention this, right? But do it. Pray. Pray for politicians. Pray for pastors. Pray for people who don’t look like you. Pray for people who are protecting us. Pray without ceasing. Be thankful in your prayers, and not just because you (hopefully) happen to be safe.
5) Switch off the Media – we shut off cable years ago. The last time our television was on and not playing Netflix was the Superbowl. We just don’t watch the news. My husband listens to talk radio via podcasts at night, so usually a day behind. I catch snippets on the radio here and there, if the kid isn’t around. We get a lot of information by hearing about it and then going to news websites. Mostly we learn what we need to know (the facts) and then we shut it off. I don’t need 97,000 people’s opinions on where a potential VP ate dinner with his family while traveling. I also don’t need to know that people I deeply love and care about are not, in fact, exhibiting any discernment or fruit of the Spirit on social media sites. It grieves me deeply to see that. So shut it off – listen to hymns instead, or podcasts like Entreating Favor’s Fire Away, Wretched Radio, Fighting for the Faith, or No Compromise Radio.
The Good News
Here’s the good news: I’ve read the whole story. You can, too. Jesus wins. Jesus wins in a glorious, victorious, enormous, eternal way, and if you have Him, you win, too. Maybe not today; maybe today is hard, and you will suffer, and be scared, and hurt. But cling to your confidence in this: “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” (Rev. 22:12-13).
Jesus is coming soon. Press on, sisters.
Jesus is coming soon.
That is good news, indeed.