There is a lot of fear bubbling along under the surface of our collective global consciences at the moment:
From the Ebola pandemic reaching the USA, France, Spain and who knows where else, to ISIS terrorising the Middle East and taking cities with ease as the US and its allies look on ineffectively, to last week’s stock market rout which looks like gathering steam this week. All of a sudden the world looks a lot more unsafe than it was a few months ago.
What to do? How should Christians respond to these seemingly unstoppable forces? How should we pray? The answer depends on where our emotional foundation is. All through history believers have more often than not been on the pointy end of suffering for their faith. This is why scripture is full of encouragement for those who see their world crumbling around them. If we look to the unshakable strength of our heavenly father we will not be moved. Consider the following:
Psalm 23:4: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Proverbs 27:1: The Lord is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid?
Matthew 10:38: Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
Romans 8:15: For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “”Abba,” Father.”
Hebrews 13:5-6: Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
Ebola can kill the body but not the soul. Markets can kill your financial safety net but not your destiny. ISIS can kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10) but will prove utterly incapable of governing in peace, just as every other extremist Islamic group in recent history. Our confidence is in Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. He has our destiny in his hands. What we see now is nothing compared to the real tragedies we read about in history. This one, at the moment is largely confined to our imaginations.
Gods plan for the earth is for all to come into a precious relationship with him. Some Christians actually think his plan is for Satan to take over the world. This does not agree with his nature or scripture (Matthew 28:18, Luke 11:20, John 1:29, 3:17, John 4:42, Acts 17:30, I Corinthians 15:25). Christianity was birthed with an eschatology of victory, but many in the Western world see themselves as part of the decline of Christendom ( http://setfreeseminars.com/spirit/world-views/1christendom/ ) and extrapolate that into being Gods plan for the world. Jesus will reign until all things have been brought into submission to him and put under his feet.
So, fellow Christian, begin to pray for the victory of the Gospel in places where it is not yet seen because creation waits patiently for the sons of God to reveal themselves (Romans 8:19). Pray for the souls God loves and who are dying without knowing him. Pray for “His Kingdom to come, and his will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven” (Matthew 6:10). Pray for the harvest as it is plentiful but the workers are few (Luke 10:2). Become one of those workers by simply asking the Holy Spirit to use you today to share light into a hurting soul.
We win, OK. But in the meantime Satan sneaks around like a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8) trying to scare Christians out of their mission to turn the world upside down (Acts 17:6). If the early church, without money, status, numbers and resources could subdue the mighty Roman Empire, then surely, with 8% of the worlds population, we can pray in a majestic wave of salvation in the Muslim world and the decaying West.
Jesus died on the cross so the entire world would come back to the original plan of relationship with the father. Anything short of that leaves the global Christian cause incomplete.