Yes, there is much alarm in the land today, but the simple words of a well-loved hymn answers our troubles very well.
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace. “
The daily clamor of world events – COVID-19, presidential elections, world conflicts, the continuing erosion of moral values, etc… – are enough to weigh down the strongest heart. For every trouble in society today there are a multitude of impoverished solutions offered in the public forum.
The above verse provides a simple solution for those who know and love Jesus Christ. In recent months, I have frequently answered distressing news and thoughts with the quiet words, “Turn to the Lord!” Instead of looking for hope from the world around me, I set my gaze on the One who loves me with an everlasting love, and who in this final chapter of world history will set all things right.
Patricia St. John provides a beautiful example of turning to the Lord. In her fictional but true to life account Nothing Else Matters, 16-year old Lamia’s comfortable family life is shattered by the eruption of a bitter civil war between Maronite Catholic and Palestinian Muslim communities. (Her small middle-eastern nation of Lebanon has seen much of this brokenness and conflict for decades.)
In the world around her, murder suddenly becomes commonplace and the prospect of wholesale slaughter weighs heavily on both communities. Militias on both sides perpetrate great atrocities against young and old alike. Through heavy months her brother is kidnapped and killed, her family is driven from their Beirut home, and her mother is gunned down before her eyes. Lamia is bitter and angry. She speaks with a nun as she struggles with a despairing hatred that would destroy her.
The nun has wrestled with her own sufferings as she answers the young girl’s bitter questionings.
“The love of God!” she burst out rather bitterly; “but tell me this, Sister, if he really loves, then why has all this happened?”
The young woman sat silent for some time. “I don’t know,” she answered at last, “but I think this: God created the universe to work in harmony when governed by the rules of love. But if we break the rules and choose another law, then everything clashes and the world is plunged into chaos. I think God works within His own law, not within the law we put in its place. He does not cancel the law of cause and effect…love is the medium in which He works to save; but the world has turned from [His] love.”
“Then there is no hope,” said Lamia flatly. “We are just a prey to other people’s wickedness.”
“No, I think we still have personal choice. In a world of war and hate, I believe that we can still submit to the law of Love; then [our lives] will be lived out in harmony with God.”
None of us have chosen the times in which we live or the place and circumstances into which we were born – God has chosen. Not one of us is sufficiently wise or powerful to solve the alarming events of our day. God knows the events of our times; He can heal its troubles. We are rich if we turn to Him and firmly trust Him for circumstances that we cannot control. God’s great love is more powerful than the uncertainties of life!
To the world in turmoil He calls out, ‘Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the Earth! For I am God and there is no other.”- Isaiah. God looks for a worldwide turning of hearts that men would submit to the law of Love – the great love that God has for each one of us.
Looking at the alarming events of our day, we may be tempted to feel that we (or our nation) are prey to circumstances brought on by a pervasive turmoil in our Land. We are not. God would have us turn to Him with all our heart. We then will have the liberty to see Him and know Him and have our heart touch His great loving heart. We want to have a burning love – a heartfelt love that reflects the intensity of His love for us.
On this Sabbath day, let us turn to the Lord and embrace His law of Love.