But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.
It is dark outside and the darkness is closing in. I will admit, in the wake of all that has happened since I last shared my thoughts, the world at large has become a frightening place. It is, I suppose, no more frightening than it ever has been; perhaps it is simply in sharper focus.
As a boy growing up in the midwest, I remember the thunderstorms. Because Kansas and Oklahoma are flat you have the advantage of seeing them coming. You could literally watch the horizon and see mammoth thunder heads marching toward you and you could prepare.
Jesus spoke of being prepared for the end times and His coming using the analogy of weather:
and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.
The Pharisees were searching for a sign here. In essence they were looking for a miracle like the others Jesus had performed. They wanted another show. Instead, Jesus rebukes them for their hypocrisy:
A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.
Jesus is omnius here. As usual, He cuts through the menutia and gets right to the point by using that which they know so well – the Torah (Old Testament). God used Jonah, after great protest, to deliver a final warning to the people of Nineveh and because of that warning, there was a great spiritual awakening in that city. The people repented of their sins and turned back to God. Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees and Sadducees in a language they understand and making a point; no more signs, I am here as your last warning. Stop being so outwardly religious and repent. The signs are all around you and you’re so busy doing right you’re not being right with the father!
That is the message Jesus has for the unbeliever, the hypocrite, ” Stop worrying about looking right, sounding right, and doing right and BE RIGHT! In a world that is less and less right, a world that is less focused on the God of the bible today than at any other time in recent memory, what message is there for the believer?
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
God tells us not to be afraid. But, you might say, as I have recently, “I am afraid!” When we are afraid, we must return to the truth of the scriptures. God’s promises can be trusted and leaned on as rock stands against the storm. So, as this unrighteous generation sinks deeper into the mire of sin and debauchery, know the truth. God is in charge and he will help us, protect us, and indeed uphold us for He is righteous.
The storms come as the world system tightens its grip on the imagination of the people. Take rest in the truth that the world system is not in charge. God is and He has given us our marching orders. We are to go not stay, pick up our cross, not stand idly by. for those of us who are saved can not have our salvation taken from us; what of those who remain lost? Are we to forsake them to the devil and eternal damnation? No! we are to go forth with no fear.
Matthew 28:19 [Full Chapter]Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
This course of action is neither easy nor safe but the consequences of inaction are dire. In these last days, we who believe must proclaim the truth to all who will hear it Safe in the knowledge that God is with us. Scripture tells us in the book of John:
John 3:18 [Full Chapter]“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
If you are reading this today and your heart aches for the lost then take solace in Jesus and the peace that he brings. Though it has been said before, I will echo it again. ” I would rather go through a storm with Jesus than sail through life without Him.” If you are afraid, know that I echo your fears but I also know that the promises of scripture can be trusted. As the storm gathers I leave you with this:
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Grace & Peace,
One thought on “Peace in the Middle of a War”
I want to wish everyone a joyous and blessed Christmas. Yes, contrary to what Wal-Mart would like us to think, NOW is the middle of Christmas. Catholic bishops teach: the liturgical season of Christmas begins with the vigil Masses on Christmas Eve and concludes on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. (next Sunday) During this season, we celebrate the birth of Christ into our world and into our hearts, and reflect on the gift of salvation that is born with him…including the fact that he was born to die for us. Christmas is very special and must be properly observed. Therefore, do not let anyone or anything cut short your Christmas.
Yesterday was the Solemnity of the Epiphany when we celebrate the manifestation of Christ Jesus. This is an uniquely Christian teaching, as we are the only religion with both a Transcendent and now, Immanent God. Our savior and king, through the mystery of the Incarnation. entered the world, fully God and fully human, in all things like us except sin was born into “mean estate” as a helpless, impoverished child. Emmanuel did not come in glory and splendor as a mighty king like the Jewish elders expected, so they missed Him.
Matthew tells a story of the Magi, or wise men, who did not miss Him. They were searching for God, even as God was attracting them to Him. They saw His star from its rising and followed that star for years to do Him homage. When the star disappears they have no guiding light, so they ask for directions. Can you image the confusion and uproar in the court of Herod when the magicians from Babylon show up and ask where is the newborn King of the Jews? When the star reappears over the birthplace in Bethlehem they are overjoyed. The powerful image of light unto the darkness and a guiding light, to me, this is the crux of evangelization. We turn on our lights! Think about the scripture readings from IS Chapter 60:
Your light has come,
the glory of the Lord shines upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth,
and thick clouds cover the peoples;
but upon you the LORD shines,
and over you appears his glory.
Nations shall walk by your light,
and kings by your shining radiance.
What the world needs now, more than ever is for all Christians to shine their light and to dispel the darkness, We must show them there is a better way, a way of love, and to bring the Truth to the forefront!