There’s much uncertainty in the world today and this means increasing anxiety for people and for nations. I am a keen geopolitical analyst (part-time!), and I think one could be forgiven for being a bit fearful and anxious about global events. There is the seemingly unsolvable Syrian catastrophe that has seen 100,000’s killed and many millions displaced as refugees. This once beautiful and proud nation has virtually been reduced to rubble and released a tsunami of refugees and migrants seeking access to the safe and more stable nations of Europe. But this has seen much unrest within European countries and the rise of right-wing nationalist parties as a reaction to people’s fears, real or imagined, of large numbers of immigrants coming in.
The rise of the Islamic State and the terror and barbarity they have unleashed has shocked us all. Hundreds every week across the globe are brutally murdered by Islamic State and the dozens of other Jihadist splinter groups in Northern Africa, the Middle East, Afghanistan, South East Asia and other places. How do you confront an enemy that relishes and desires death and martyrdom?
In our own region there are perilous tensions around claims in the South China Sea, with territorial disputes threatening to get out of control. Even handled with utmost diplomatic care, it only takes an incident or two to set military encounters into action. Then there is the tyrannical cult-like dictator, Kim Jong-un, who has North Korea engaging in constant bellicose language and behaviour.
In the USA we have, according to their own polls, two very disliked and untrusted presidential candidates vying for the position of most powerful person in the world. The implications for the rest of the world of an unstable USA are immense.
Then there are the normal run-of-the-mill human issues of violence, addiction, cruelty, hatred, sexual immorality, irresponsibility and the like, as well as the eroding centre of traditions and values that have held Western nations somewhat together in recent centuries. The times remind me of Psalm 11, when David prays “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Indeed, what do we do?
As your pastor I’m not even going to attempt to find some “positive note” on which to finish this, for the reality is, things may get a lot worse in our world. Read Mat Hunter’s prayer news on the opposite page to see the struggle of Christians in Chad. Or read Luke 21 for the R18+ version of world history from Jesus: he completely upstages me in the morbid stakes! But at one point he says “Stand firm, and you will win life.”
What is at the centre of your life and what are you relying and standing upon? Can you truly say “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand”? If so, you have nothing to fear or be anxious about. Church, we have a message and a God who is the only answer to fear, uncertainty and death—indeed, the only answer to life! And a desperate and fearful world needs a church that knows what it believes and whom it believes in. The church is first and foremost about King Jesus.