Whether people are left or right, secular and religious, there is a trend in America right now to think that the sky is falling. I read The Last Myth by Gross and Gilles. They make an excellent point about what apocalyptic thinking tells us about America. The topics vary: the rapture, economic collapse, failure of the dollar, wars, earthquakes, hurricanes, terrorism, overpopulation, abortion, peak oil, and global warming. In the absence of any agreement or consensus about a path forward toward a solution, the thought process is that, “If you don’t agree with me, the world will end.” The overtone is that a higher power, nature or God, will intervene and destroy the world. Both Christian and secular prophets seem to have fallen into the same rut.
Why the pessimism? – Fear sells news, and the advent of the 24 hour cable news cycle has brought every significant crime or disaster around the world into our living rooms. In the 1990’s the news coverage of violent crime increased by 600% while the actual crime rate decreased by 20% during the same period! The media does create perceptions for better or for worse. I also think the enemy would like to sell a little fear if he could. Lastly, our concept of God as a loving Father needs to be restored. We are not primarily sinners in the hand of an angry God. We are children in the hands of a loving father.
Why Optimism? – The definition of the Gospel is shifting a little from a recipe for sin that gets us a ticket to heaven. Our western concept of God tends to view him as a force known by his principles, rules, justice and judgment. That’s shifting toward the Gospel of the Kingdom, where we know him as Father who is establishing His Kingdom on earth to bless the nations, and He’s giving us an opportunity to get involved and make a difference. This emphasis on the good news is filled with optimism, and points toward a victorious ending instead of a quick escape to heaven.
Realism – As cultures and individuals, we do face serious problems that need good solutions. History is littered with examples of individuals and cultures that did not make adjustments to change and did suffer an apocalyptic fate. We really are prone to hang on to our past beliefs while circumstances overcome us to do real harm. It’s a natural human tendency. We are not reactionaries with extreme positions; neither are we pacifists who ignore the handwriting on the wall. We face facts, examine the alternatives, and ask for wisdom from a loving Father to make good decisions.
God’s wisdom – When we find God’s answer to a contentious political issue, it has a drawing power that unites us and brings peace. It communicates a love and respect for people, because that’s the real nature of God. When we find God’s answer to a personal issue, we are reminded how much he loves us, not how logical and inventive he is.
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1:5 NIV
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. James 3:17-18 NIV
More than anything else, apocalyptic thinking mirrors a resignation to giving up on a viable solution. Admittedly our congressional approval ratings reflect a national lack of consensus on many issues. About 17% approve and 76% disapprove of their actions. That just means it’s time for wise men and women to find the heart of God in their particular mountain. We need God’s answers both nationally and individually. The advantage of being a believer in this hour is not that we have all the answers. It’s that we know they exist and we know where they exist. It’s that we know the father who will show us hope and a future.
It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings. Prov 25:2 NIV
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jer 29:11-14 NIV
Your role in the Kingdom is worth the investment of your time to put that plan into place and to get the help you need to do it. Here are some suggestions for next steps. We may be able to help you with a heart plan. Coaching has proven to be a great tool to make wise decisions based on the desires God has put in your heart, and we’re inviting you to contact us. We’re excited about it!
In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. Prov 16:9 NIV