It feels like I can’t turn on the television or the radio without hearing bad news. Is it just me? Or has the world suddenly gotten darker in the last few weeks? Because it seems to me like more is wrong in today’s world than has ever been wrong before.
People dying. Churches fighting. Towns rioting. Leaders whining. Countries invading. No place feels safe. No person can be trusted. Innocents murdered. Children slaughtered. People starving and frightened and lost.
I try to stay positive. I try to remember that God is in control, but it’s hard to look on the bright side when everything I see is pitch black dark. And then–more bad news. Death. And the worst kind–the kind that could have been prevented but wasn’t because someone was careless.
Breaks my heart. And there’s nothing I can do to fix it. You can’t fix things like that. And you can ask why till you’re blue in the face, and the only answer you’ll get: “Trust me.”
Welcome to the life of a Christ-follower. It’s not all sunshine and daisies. It’s frustrating. Heart wrenching. Because you know the world wasn’t supposed to be this way. You know how things were designed to work. And all you can do is watch the world fall apart and wait for the end to come.
And then, I read Mark 13:5-9.
Jesus replied, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in many parts of the world, as well as famines. But this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come. When these things begin to happen, watch out!
It’s easy to lose hope when so much bad is happening. It easy to give up when you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel or the climb has gotten too steep. But there’s something we all need to remember.
No matter how bad the news is, no matter what dark, horrible things happen, we can’t forget that God really is in control.
Yes, these things must take place.
Did you catch that in the passage above? Jesus is talking about a host of really horrible things, explaining to the Disciples what is coming for Israel, and He tells them that all of it must happen.
Why? Why must it happen?
I don’t presume to know why. And nobody–not even Christ–knows when. But we can know for sure that it’s soon. It’s right at the door, as the passage says above.
There has always been bad stuff happening. There has always been bad news. But the news seems worse now than it’s ever been. But don’t you find it at all comforting that it has to happen? No matter how bad the news gets, it’s not a surprise to God. And even though it may be bad news to us–even though it might break our hearts and tear us up inside–that doesn’t mean God can’t turn it around and transform it into good news.
God’s in the business of transformation.
So don’t be afraid of bad news. Hold on when you get the phone call no one ever wants, when it feels like you’ve done everything right and nothing is working. Don’t lose it when you realize just what a horrible state the world is in. It has to happen. It has to get worse before it can get better.