Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Continuing on the Theme of Fear.....

Joel Belz from World magazine did an informal survey recently, asking his readers to write and tell him if they were 1) mildly optimistic, 2) mildly pessimistic, or 3) VERY pessimistic about our nation's future. He's written about it in three different issues now, because he's so stunned at the results. More than half of his respondents are "doomsday cataclysmists", and when you add those from the second category, a full 75% were pessimistic about the future.

I guess I was surprised at the overwhelming numbers there, but not at the sentiment. My time in the homeschooling world has made me well aware of the Chicken Littles out there crying that the sky is falling.

[For the record, we don't homeschool because we believe in a vast state conspiracy to control our children's minds through the schools. Or because we feel public education would destroy them intellectually, socially or spiritually. We just recognize the problems in the public education system (as frequent readers of my blog have heard) and know that it is our responsibility to ensure our kids get a good education. And, for the record, there are a lot of other homeschoolers out there like us.]

But Belz makes a good point, one he says he made after the Y2K freak-out as well: For Christians to be living in the regular context of alarm is to deny their birthright. As Suzi at Sunnybrook says, we're living below our privilege. We are the ones whose hearts are not supposed to be troubled.

I know far too many Christians, including myself at times, who claim complete confidence in the sovereignty of God but live their days in sighing and fretting. No wonder the world is not inspired by our "Good News".

For my own part, I'm trying to make more of an effort to act on concerns rather than fret about them. I am concerned about the state of public education . . . so I'm trying to educate myself on the topic and look for an opening to use my knowledge and skills to make a difference there. I'm concerned about the direction some of Obama's policies are taking our country . . . so, again, I'm trying to educate myself and hope to get a bit more involved than I have before when election time rolls around.

And beyond that, I'll just try to internalize Belz's conclusion regarding the end times: "Might be just around the corner. Might not. Either way, we're OK. The Lord is our God."


Ona Marae said...

Good post. I am always astounded by the number of ultimate pessimists i call them. while i have fears about my own life, those are not some of them. I reckon there is so much work to be done bringing about the Kingdom of God on earth (which I do believe can happen) that God will take care of the rest. I don't even worry about an afterlife, knowing God is in charge of that aspect also. The Gospels give me my marching orders and I have more than enough to be concerned with with just that!

Anonymous said...

I don't think a pessimistc view of the future of our nation contradicts trust in God's sovereignty. The prophet Jeremiah certainly did not paint a very positive view of Jerusalem's future, and he certainly believed in God's sovereignty and might. God does allow terrible things to happen. If it happened to Jerusalem it could certainly happen to us. Our comfort lies in the fact that God is in control despite the circumstances, and he will ultimately work things out for his honor and glory. This does not guarantee a rosy future for our nation if it chooses to turn it's back on God. The gospel offers hope if we choose to listen and repent, but it also offers condemnation to those who reject it.


Anonymous said...

I wanted to add that fretting and worrying about the future is different then believing something can have a negative outcome. Trust in God's sovereignty gives us peace despite the perceived negative outcome. That is why the Bible calls it a peace that passes all understanding.

Neither does it mean you give up and don't do anything. Jeremiah continued to preach repentance even after the fall of Jerusalem in the hope that people would heed God's message and be spared further judgement. I think the book of Jeremiah gives us much to think about.