Hello Baysiders! Praying that your Thanksgiving is a blessed one with family and friends and that, no matter your situation, your heart would be full of gratitude for all what God has given you.
This morning it was reported that Russia fired missiles into Poland, killing two people. This is a big deal because Poland has nothing to do with Russia’s unreasonable provoked invasion and war with Ukraine, which means, because Poland is under NATO protection, this one assault might be the flick of the match to escalate this war to World War III. As I am literally writing this blog, NATO is in the middle of investigating to confirm that Russia was the one behind this violent act. This is one of many reasons to fear for our lives and to think the end of the world is near. The list goes on: Global Warming, A.I. takeover, another pandemic, North Korea’s nuclear threats, Republicans regaining house majority or “alleged” election fraud, the Taiwan China hostility, a lukewarm church in America, ect. But there are also the personal life threats, cancer, career goes out of business, stock market crashes, old age, divorce, parental difficulty, child bullying, debilitating health condition, loss of a loved one, retirement. These are all reasons to cause anxiety about our future as a species. Our existence is so fragile right now. But, when was it not? Since day one of man’s first breath, we have always been on the brink of extinction. Our survival insurance is no greater than the dinosaurs. It is only by God’s grace we are still around.
To be alive is to be on the brim of destruction; that’s what it means to be human. A newborn baby comes out of the womb screaming and is precarious to newly found life. Our existence has been fragile since God said “Let there be light” in the chaos of darkness. I believe there are three ways to live facing this reality. The first way is escapism by parting. This is a hedonistic lifestyle, live with no regrets which also feeds into the nihilistic aspects of our culture; eat, drink, be merry for tomorrow we die. All we have is this life is take what you can. The other way is to find shelter in the panic. By panicking and being frantic, some feel safe because by feeding into the panic, some gain a sense of control and nourishment. Stress for many is fuel to function and stay somewhat balanced in life because it’s all they know or been taught to cope. But this outlet is an illusion at best as it doesn’t offer the peace and comfort it solicits. People who live this way are always on edge about something, not trusting God. The last outlook to have in our fragile existence is to live with prudence. Prudence is wisdom to know how to respond to incoming danger or challenges. Wisdom is what is needed in our souls. Prudence grants us the strong faith to live between the reality of Christmas and history of Easter. There will always be the Herod’s of our world seeking to kill the messiah, ending our hopes. There will always be a cross in our lives, threatening our faith. But we know how each story ends: Jesus is victorious. There is always going to be a reason to fear and stress. But there are always reason not to. One lesson I have learned in life is that most of my greatest fears NEVER come true. We need prudence to wisely know what items on our responsibility list to concern over and which ones to lay down and let God take care of them.
This is why whether global or personal, whenever the “new world will end threat,” comes (which is every month in the news cycle), we don’t have to panic in despair or party like nothing else matters. It’s always peculiar to me and slightly humorous to see a lot of my frantically Christian peers all of a sudden become expert economists, scientists and end time theologians when a threat to our humanity arises. Everyone has an opinion on how the world should be managed, everybody is opinionated about the dangers to our livelihood, and all have opinions that are self-coping and self-serving. So that being the case, whose opinion matters that we should follow and stand on? We should heed the voice of someone who has the spirit of God in him, has wisdom and a life that is worthy to follow. One person I can think of is King Solomon when he was young and first became king. He had maturity beyond his age and was an old soul. He had very little life experience yet God’s wisdom in his soul made him a wise sage. He offers us wisdom saying in Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” He does not say the panic of the Lord or party of the Lord. By the way, fear here in this context does not mean to be afraid or timidity but rather comes from the old english root word for reverence and high esteem. When we greatly respect and cherish God as he should be, then we gain confidence to walk on this planet with wisdom to face any obstacle in our way.
I don’t know what we should do or have any answers for our end of the world woes but I do know some things we are NOT to do. Walking in wisdom is needed in this time and not more political articles, talking points or statistics. The book of Proverbs illuminates for us some wise steps—We are not to share everything that’s on our minds or always share our thoughts (Prov 10:19, 29:11). We are not to be gullible and believe everything that feels right (Prov 14:15, 21:2). We are not to be aggressive and contentious (Prov 29:22). We are not to spread conspiracies or propaganda aka lies (Prov 12:17, 19-20). We are not to emotionally haphazardly throw info around without doing our homework (Prov 18:2, 13). We are not to find hope in facts or news alone (Prov 4:5-7). We are not to act like we know what the future will look like (Prov 27:1). We are not to be proud but humble (Prov 29:11). We are not to be afraid (Prov 29:25). We are not to worry but trust God with everything (Prov 3:5-6).
Nothings wrong having an opinion about world threats or even about the new Taylor Swift album. But not all opinions are created equal or beneficial. May we all be prudent and follow God’s opinion because its the only one that ultimately matters.
UPDATE 11/16/22: After preliminary analysis, the Poland missile incident was caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile fired to defend Ukrainian territory against Russian cruise missile attacks and was no indication this was the result of a deliberate attack by Russia.