Bad News || Tim Meier

Posted on September 22nd, by Tim Meier in Heart. 1 Comment

Bad News || Tim Meier

I’m sick of reading, watching, or hearing the news. Turn on the TV, turn on your phone, read the newspaper (does anyone do that anymore?) and it’s always the same thing.

 

ISIS executes another aid worker. Ebola takes lives in Africa. Tensions in the Middle East continue to rise, and more people die. Racism is exposed once again as we watched Ferguson unfold. The heroes of our society, NFL players, act in violence against their spouses and their children. It’s depressing.

 

It’s also nothing new.

 

Sure, the capabilities to wipe a large amount of people quickly off the map have changed the game. We have the ability to enact harsher violence and eliminate more people but it’s not like violence, hatred, or genocide is new. Ever studied the middle ages or read the Old Testament or heard about WWII?

 

But, the access to information imprisons us. Add to all of this our normal, every day concerns about money, work, studies, family, relationships, Cleveland sports teams (ok, that might be a personal problem) and it feels like it’s too much. So what do we do?

 

First, we get angry and concerned. Maybe we give some money or help someone. But, after time, and often it doesn’t take long, we get numb and shut down. And then we start in with pessimism, cynicism, and doubt. And trust me, Millennials don’t need anymore of those things.

 

I was feeling this way last week. It was Sunday morning and I was tired. Work is hard right now. Parenting can be exhausting. There is conflict all over the place, and the world feels upside down. And in that space I can get lost and hopeless and just feel like I want to stay home and turn off my brain. [Since I wrote this post one of our teammates in Guinea has been killed trying to help people with Ebola. The news isn’t getting better.]

 

Those are the best times to go worship in community with people.

 

One of our pastors, Erik, was preaching from Habakkuk yesterday. It’s not every day you read Habakkuk, but again, that might be a personal problem. He launched into the talk asking if we felt overwhelmed with the world, with the helplessness of our reality, and if we questioned God’s presence. Hmmm. Some days God just does this.

 

Then he read a verse that really moved me to the core. Habakkuk 1:5 from the message says,

 

Look around at the godless nations.

Look long and hard. Brace yourself for a shock.

Something’s about to take place

And you’re going to find it hard to believe.

 

The writer goes on to explain where the judgment will come from, and it happens to be Israel’s enemy. There is a bunch of other craziness that God talks about but this struck me, “Look around, I’m going to do something that you wouldn’t believe, even if I told you.” Some of it looks like judgment but some of it looks really good.

 

Sometimes we are prisoners to information, overwhelmed by evil, and we give in to fear, and self-absorption and worse-case-scenario predictions. And shame on you news channels for feeding it! But, God doesn’t. God is not wringing his hands, afraid of what’s next. In fact, Habakkuk makes it clear that God is always on the move whether we know or not, and our job is to become aware of what he’s doing!

[It is worth noting that if the “worst” that happens to us is feeling overwhelmed then we have it pretty good. There are people who are waking up today to famine, bombs, and genocide. I am certainly not trying to minimize their situation by highlighting our own issues.]

 

In an age like this, when people turn to bankrupt political solutions or drowning their fear in selfish preoccupations, we have the privilege of working with God in his reconciliation of the world to Himself. The judgment that God brings is not just to “punish” people but also to make things right.

 

So what can we actually do? Here are some thoughts:

 

  1. Open your eyes to what God is currently doing around you today. What is He doing in the world? And ask Him for help in this, He loves to answer that prayer.
  2. But seriously. Pray for believers; pray for your enemies; pray for our leaders. Pray more than you complain and slander. Pray more than you worry.
  3. Invest in what matters. If God is still on the throne, try to focus your energy on the renewal happening around you. That might be in another country, it might be down the street, it might be in your own heart.

 

On a day filled with fear, be encouraged by this verse from Habakkuk 3:

 

God’s on his way again,

Retracing the old salvation route,

Coming up from the south…skies are blazing with his splendor,

His praises sounding through the earth.

 

God is alive and he sees us. He is still doing the salvation thing. Join Him.

 

*Much thanks to Erik Cramer for his message on Sunday that gave me most of the ideas I’ve written here. You can find him on twitter talking about the Dodgers or whining about USC football at @ec17

 

[It is worth noting that if the “worst” that happens to us is feeling overwhelmed then we have it pretty good. There are people who are waking up today to famine, bombs, and genocide. I am certainly not trying to minimize their situation by highlighting our own issues. Let us work and pray for those affected personally by violence today]

Editor’s Note: for more on Habakkuk check out our free E-Book on Habakkuk here


Tim Meier Tim Meier is the International Director of Envision (a young adult ministry in 14 countries with the C&MA). Previous to this Tim served 4 years with his wife and boys as a Pastor in Paris, France and 5 years in the Greater NYC area. He loves to run, read, watch good movies, root for his loveable loser Cleveland sports teams, and play with his boys Blaine and Jude.
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