Some months writing Peter’s Wife is easy. The thoughts come, the words flow, and with only a little editing the newsletter is ready to publish. Some months, like this one, I start and discard, start and discard. My heart is full and I have much on my mind, but it is hard to put in words that will bless others.
I don’t seek out the news, whether local or international. I just get a news feed, and give it a cursory look. Usually it does not affect me much. But sometimes I’m forced to pay closer attention, take some action, and pray about the stories I read.
This month I cannot get the news off my mind. So many sad and disappointing stories! So many places where it seems like Satan is winning! I need to see how God is at work.
In a country that we love, some hidden corruption has been exposed. The political fallout may be catastrophic. The enemy has been at work and seems to be winning. Yet at the same time, God is at work. He’s opening people’s eyes, shaking their misplaced confidence in material wealth, and drawing those who love Him even closer.
In America, the exposure of Planned Parenthood’s butchering of aborted babies and the financial gain from selling body parts has rocked our nation. What had been accepted by many as a woman’s choice, is now graphically exposed as a slaughter of our most vulnerable citizens. For 42 years we have tried to stop wholesale abortions, but now God is using modern technology and the boldness of a few people to reveal the horror. God is at work.
We hear of so many natural disasters now that we almost become hardened to the news of another one. If we let ourselves empathize with the survivors of each and every one of these, we would soon be too depressed to do any good for anyone. Yet God is at work in each one of the disasters. The first responders are notably Christians and NGOs largely supported and staffed by Christians. Whole villages have heard the Gospel as relief workers help them restore their homes and begin new lives. Maybe you are one of those workers.
On a more personal level, each of us have family members and dear friends fighting for their lives against disease or slipping away from their faith. We can feel these so deeply we hardly have words to say. Tears may soak our pillows as we feel with those who hurt. But God is at work. He is our Comfort and our Hope. And, he knows how to work in ways we cannot see.
As people who love God and care for others, we need a way to handle this barrage of bad news and see how God is at work.
We can ask God what He wants us to do about the situation that concerns us. At times He may direct us to help supply the needs of the distressed. Sometimes we can make our voice heard as we take action by writing letters or signing petitions. At other times we can be available to listen and comfort the afflicted. We must never forget that it is God, at work in us, who moves us to meaningful involvement. As we do something, it is easier to see God is at work.
Spending time in God’s word builds our faith and corrects our perspective. We need the broad strokes of reading the whole book to be reminded of the end of the story. Our God wins! We, His people, overcome! The wicked will one day be no more.
But the Word helps us in another way too. We let smaller portions settle deep in our souls. The Word teaches us, corrects us, and strengthens us. And abiding in His Word prepares us for the battle.
When our heart is overwhelmed, we should do what David told us to do in Psalm 62:8.
“Trust in Him at all times, O People; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah.”
We don’t have to be able to put our prayers in logical order or biblical language. When our hearts overflow to our loving Father we can trust Him to do what only He can do. We can feel the security of our Refuge.
We must also know that there are times He would comfort us and assure us that this concern is not ours to carry. This is when awareness of the body of Christ and the family of believers can help. If we try to bear all these burdens alone, we will be crushed. The enemy will tear us down and beat us up. He will cause our minds to doubt and our emotions to be swamped. Faithful prayer partners help us share the burdens we face. God can easily alert someone faraway to pray. That is a source of encouragement when we feel alone and overwhelmed. Our brothers and sisters help us see God is at work.
This month as you hear rumbles in the distance or see crashes nearby, let your heart be lifted as you see God at work.
“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. Sing praises to the Lord, enthroned in Zion; proclaim among the nations what he has done.” – Psalm 9:9-11