Are you ready for this year? Here in the United States, it’s another election year. Remember the last one? As we popped the champagne corks (metaphorically, of course) four years ago, we had no idea we were about to face a global shutdown from an engineered virus, pastors being arrested for holding in-person services, a summer of burning cities, an election marred by unlawfully-changed election procedures and controversial results, and the beginning of colonization that would grow to the size of New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago combined (about 14.1 million).
Hopefully, we won’t have another pandemic, but these other issues aren’t going away. A quick survey of headlines in the last week reads like an end-of-the-world novel. “Humanitarian crisis worsens in Gaza as Israel-Hamas war rages” (CNN). “Biden announces $250 million in military aid to Ukraine” (CBS News). “Voters split on Donald Trump being disqualified from Colorado ballot” (USA Today). “2024 Will See Deadly Political Violence in the Streets” (Yahoo! News) "Citizen militias take US-Mexico border security into their own hands" (Scripps News).
Then there are the ones on the rise in the last few years: “Parents speak out after daughter assigned to share bed with trans student on school trip: 'Told to hide it'” (FOX News). “One fourth of United Methodist churches in US have left in schism over LGBTQ ban” (AP News). And just to keep you on your toes, there’s "Top Japanese Virologist Warns Of Manufactured Omicron Strain" (The Highwire).
It’s enough to make you want to buy a hut on a remote island and disappear. Or at least turn off your TV and pretend the world isn’t in such a mess.
A few months ago, my younger son and I went to Six Flags Over Texas, which no longer features the actual flags that have flown over the state. Political correctness, you know. We went to a VIP event featuring professional hockey players from the Dallas Stars. Fortunately, we don’t care about shaking hands or getting autographs, so while others lined up for the meet-and-greets, we hit the short lines at the rollercoasters. We rode things named after superheroes and twisted, flipped, and dropped until I felt like I would throw up. Yet even as we ascended life-threatening heights and achieved deadly speeds, we never feared for our lives. Why? Because we were buckled in tight.
It seems almost strange. Our lives were in the hands of minimum-wage teenagers that checked our harnesses and straps on rides that have seen a few casualties over the years. Of course, we double-checked our fasteners, but we didn’t live in fear as we shot through space at a ridiculous pace. We were buckled up.
You’re going to need some security this year. And it has to be something more certain than a lap bar or shoulder restraint. You’re going to need something with certainty, stability, and comfort.
King David knew this thousands of years ago when he wrote, “Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy” (Psalm 61:1-3).
The apostle Paul knew this when he wrote, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
Jesus gave us the ultimate security when He said, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand” (John 10:27-29).
So whatever this year holds, whether in your personal life or in society at large, secure yourself with God’s word. Believe what He says over anything you hear in the news. Anchor your soul to His eternal promises. And hold to the peace, joy, and wisdom He provides.
"Do not lose sight of these-- keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck. Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble. If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes, for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught." (Proverbs 3:21-26)
Regardless of what happens, this year can be a good one for you. Just buckle up.