I never imagined we’d end up here.
A storm is brewing in our nation. This tempest grows increasingly fierce as contentious issues – the subjects of public debate – are relentlessly shoved in our faces. For some, peaceful dialogue seems to be on the decline. Words fly impulsively, venting passionate opinions without thought for the real people who’ll receive them.
I understand that these issues need to be discussed. The decisions which are made will have lasting impact on our beautiful country. All perspectives need to be heard.
It’s the open hostility and relationship breakdown that I struggle with.
By nature, I’m a peace-lover. I’m most happy when everyone is in harmony, whether in our family or on a larger scale. The constant tension and hateful language we’re confronted with makes me shudder. Sometimes it keeps me awake at night.
“How am I supposed to deal with this, Lord?”
This question often springs up from my anxious heart. Today as I waited on God, He revealed some of the answer.
I realised Jesus understands fully what it’s like to live immersed in tension. His people, the Jews, had a level of freedom to practice their faith. They could carry out their weekly rituals and meet in temples without question. Yet overarching these freedoms was the brutal rule of the Romans, who demanded complete submission and feared any kind of uprising.
Right from birth, Jesus was seen as a threat by those in leadership. Soon after his birth, his parents had to flee to another country for a time to keep their precious baby from being murdered by King Herod (Mt.2:13-18). As Jesus matured and His fame grew, so did the hatred of the religious leaders. The common people saw Him as their King, the one who would deliver them from Roman oppression. The chief priests and teachers of the law despised Him (Lk 19:28-20:47).
Today I read Luke 22:1-6, the story of Judas plotting with the religious leaders. These priests and teachers were terrified by the people’s worship of Jesus. They feared losing the power they’d held over the faithful for centuries. When Judas, one of Jesus’ closest friends, offered to betray Him, they were delighted. If they could be rid of Jesus, they thought, life could return to its former state.
I was confronted with the way we humans clutch at control when life gets uncomfortable. We avoid difficult people, effectively seeking to remove them from our lives. We block our ears to contrary voices or try to shout them down. Anything to shut out the ripples which shake up our comfy status quo.
Jesus knew the plotting that was going on. He felt the hostility directed toward Him from several directions. He fully understood the betrayal, false accusation and intense suffering that lay ahead (Lk 19: 28-20:47).
Yet He didn’t flinch.
Not one bit.
He set His sights on the task at hand with complete confidence in His Father’s ability to see Him through. He stayed the course, doing what He’d been sent to do, step by step by step.
All the way to His final breath.
No wonder He’s referred to as the Rock.
We can’t walk in God’s purposes while fear is ruling in our hearts. Like Jesus, we need to set our eyes on our Father and trust Him to see us through. He doesn’t want us to try to control everything. Nor does He want us to be paralysed by fear.
He has plans for us to fulfil, good works for us to do – right in the midst of the storm. (1 Peter 4:19).
No matter what tensions and upheavals we may face, there is a place of peace and confidence from which we can live full lives and bring hope to those around us.
A place we can plant our feet and stand firm, come what may.
That place is a person. He’s called the Rock.
“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.”
“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast
because he trusts in You.
Trust in the Lord forever
for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.”