Have you been torn lately? Stuck in this middle ground of wanting to look at the news to know what is happening, but also looking to your Bible for comfort and hope? Have you spent time crying out to God at the terrible atrocities that are happening in our world and wondering how such things can happen? How, after such incredible destruction, can we continue on in faith? How can we hope? How can we still laugh? How can we still enjoy the company of friends and family when we know others are suffering?
Lately, I’ve caught myself holding back my usual complaints. Such simple phrases that point to irritations of the day, but can I truly be irritated when others are dying? Do you feel as helpless as I do when seeing the news? Is your heart burdened like mine for the pain that is running rampant throughout the earth?
Are you like me, do you feel guilty for living so freely while others suffer?
Recently a friend told me, “I have had so many conversations with people and everyone keeps saying the same thing, ‘When will we get back to normal?’”
Well, what if this is the new normal? Does that thought scare you? In many ways it scares me. It shakes the foundations of how I was raised, but there is one thing it does NOT shake, and that is the Almighty God. The I AM THAT I AM.
Turn with me to Ezekiel where we will read about the destruction of a nation—sound familiar? What is written here is about the judgment of Jerusalem and God’s people before they are taken into captivity in Babylon. Do you think fear was running rampant in this time? You can be certain it was.
Now, before you read this, remember Christ. Remember that there is hope and we have Christ to cling to no matter what the world throws at us.
“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
Now, let’s begin reading in Ezekiel, keeping in mind that these words are for Jerusalem (God’s people), while clinging to the hope of the New Covenant which the Lord promises to us.
12 And the word of the Lord came to me: 13 “Son of man, when a land sins against me by acting faithlessly, and I stretch out my hand against it and break its supply of bread and send famine upon it, and cut off from it man and beast, 14 even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness, declares the Lord God. … 19 “Or if I send a pestilence into that land and pour out my wrath upon it with blood, to cut off from it man and beast, 20 even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live, declares the Lord God, they would deliver neither son nor daughter. They would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness. –Ezekiel 14: 12-14, 19-20
I may or may not have blanched at this Word. It all seems so harsh. But is it? When I see the terrible things going on in this world, the vile and disgusting actions, the blood spilled, can I blame the cleansing? Now before you accuse me of pointing fingers at someone else’s sin, allow me to tell you why I also blanched.
I froze at those words about Jerusalem because they sounded so much like America. So much like our world, but then it sounded so much like me. How many times have I chosen, yes, CHOSEN, sin over the Lord? How many times have I willingly placed idols above Him? If my record of wrong doing was laid out before your eyes it would be stained with sin.
Look again at verse 14, “even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness, declares the Lord God.” Here the Lord shows how He is a personal God. Our faith is individual, while also communal. Yes, we worship together in One faith, but we cannot save anyone else. All is Christ.
And before you think I am righteous enough, or you are righteous enough on our own, we aren’t. We are robed in Christ’s righteousness alone and for that we are saved.
How do we know this? Well, the Lord has even told us this too when he declared in Jeremiah that He is making a New Covenant with His people.
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
Thus says the Lord,
who gives the sun for light by day
and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night,
who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—
the Lord of hosts is his name:
“If this fixed order departs
from before me, declares the Lord,
then shall the offspring of Israel cease
from being a nation before me forever.”
Thus says the Lord:
“If the heavens above can be measured,
and the foundations of the earth below can be explored,
then I will cast off all the offspring of Israel
for all that they have done,
declares the Lord.”
Do I understand everything that is going on in the world? No, and I don’t think we are supposed to understand it all. But what I do think we are supposed to see is the stark line—the line between hope and chaos. The line between light and dark. The line between eternal life with Christ, and the complete destruction and hopelessness of eternal life in darkness.
Read through the Jeremiah passage again and look at the absolutes listed. The Lord remains faithful no matter what.
So today, I encourage you to set aside fear and to worship God. Thank Him for sending Christ, pray for those who are in terrible trials who don’t know Him. Pray for those who know Him and are facing physical death, pray they would be strengthened and that the Lord would give them peace that surpasses all understanding.
And more than anything, just pray.
Those of us who believe in Christ and are saved by His blood can commune with Him, His Spirit is alive in us, so let us pray and cry out to the One who saves. Because this world is in pain and groaning, beneath terror, beneath destruction, beneath disease, beneath fear…BUT God.
In Christ alone we have hope, so cling to Him and never let go, because He will NEVER let you go.