The Unchanging Lordship of Christ in a World of Crises
It is difficult to keep up with the crises of our day.
Internationally, there’s North Korea’s insane rush toward developing nuclear missiles. Vladimir Putin’s Russia is a growing military menace. China presents a host of problems, ranging from economic to military to political.
Radical Islam violates peace and justice everywhere it goes. ISIS, the Boko Haram, El Shabab, and other assorted terrorist groups pose grave threats to lives and order in the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, and, increasingly, nations across Europe.
Israel exists in a state of semi-war with its hateful neighbors. The Kurds and the Catalonians want to withdraw from, respectively, Iraq and Spain. Neither of the latter are too happy about it.
Venezuela, a nation that should be one of the world’s most prosperous, now has starving people and political brutality thanks to the brutal demi-Marxist at its helm. Cuba, once the gem of the Caribbean, is decaying like an unburied corpse.
And at Home …
How about things here at home? Athletes who won’t stand during the National Anthem. The political implosion known as Obamacare remains law. Since the “great recession,” about five million people have left the workforce — they have simply given up looking for jobs. In total, the actual rate of un- and under-employment is not the rosy 4.4 percent usually reported in the media but 8.6 percent, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Then there are our ever-growing national debt and annual deficits, and “entitlement” programs careening toward collapse.
Abortion. Transgenderism in the military. Same-sex “marriage.” Global poverty. Hurricanes and natural disasters. Erosions of religious liberty. The opioid crisis. Addictions ranging from heroin to pornography. International religious persecution. I could go on. And on and on.
None of us can process these things fully. Saturation produces a certain numbness that’s deepened by a feeling of hopelessness.
This partial catalog of human ills is not designed to sadden or discourage. Instead, it is provided to encourage followers of Jesus to contemplate Him. His Lordship. His mandate. And His promise.
Jesus is Lord.
Jesus is described by the writer of Hebrews as, “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power” (1:3). Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord (Philippians 2:9-10).
If these assertions are true — and the good news is that they are — panic and depression in the wake of global and national problems have no place in the life of the Christian. We know Who wins in the end. Who only permits what accords with His mysterious but utterly complete plan. Who “knows the end from the beginning” and “works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Isaiah 46:10, Ephesians 1:11).
The Lordship of Jesus Christ over the minutest atom, the largest galaxy, the most violent war-lord, and the hosts of demons is total, unchallengeable and eternal. Christians can — must — rest in this great truth. They are in Good Hands.
Jesus Has Given Us a Mandate.
Jesus has called His followers to make disciples of all nations and to be His witnesses to the uttermost parts of the earth (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8). We are to “do good to all men” and, in His Name, defend the poor, the fatherless and the weak (Psalm 12:5, 82:3).
Jesus’s Lordship is not an excuse for disinterest but a motivation for action. Yet none of us can do everything for everyone, at home or abroad. There are many ministries that rightly and urgently demand our time, talent and treasure.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” — John 16:33 ESV
How to decide where to invest them? Remember that the ministries of your local church body come first. Then pray — ask God where He wants to put your availability for Him to use. And watch Him open specific doors of opportunity, whether to the shut-in next door or to the unevangelized peoples of northern India. People, circumstances, the burden of your heart: He will bind them together to lead you into the ministries where He wants you. He will honor your placing of yourself at His disposal.
For the many issues in which you cannot personally be involved or the many needs you cannot personally begin to meet, pray. Make a prayer list and cover, say, five per day. Or just pick five overall — ask the Lord where He wants you to devote prayer. And then trust our just, loving and sovereign God for the rest.
Jesus Keeps His Promise.
“I am with you always,” Jesus said, “even to the end of the ages” (Matthew 28:20). “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). And His great apostle Paul writes, “Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).
None of these things mean we won’t feel pain deeply or be sometimes broken by the weight of our sin-loving world. But they mean that, in our grief and bewilderment, Christ will be beside us. He is always in us. And He will never leave us.
U.S. policymakers have a plate far more full than any of them would like, from the President on down. We need to uphold them before the Lord. But whatever He allows in time, He will use for His majestic glory in eternity. So, “therefore,” as Paul says, “we do not lose heart … for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (II Corinthians 4:16, 18).