This guest post is written by Shannon Owen, a wife and mother of a special needs child. Shannon regularly prays with Abide, and she felt called to share her heart with our community. Amongst all the events happening in the world and in our lives, we are reminded to look up to Jesus.
We’re swimming in noise. Scratch that—we’re drowning in it.
The voices, the opinions, the breaking news, the he said/ she said. It all serves to hype and excite, to keep us clicking and scrolling. And even when we sign off, the world still seems to spin in chaos.
Chaos breeds fear. Fear drives out peace.
And then what?
Is peace so elusive, so flighty and frail?
I think no.
It was the shepherds, the ones with dirt-lined fingernails and threadbare clothes, who saw light blaze through the darkness in the middle of their night shift. The angel army came to proclaim the name of God in heaven and claim peace on earth.
That peace is titanium strong, and it hasn’t gone anywhere.
So, how do we find it and feel it?
First, Look Up.
Somehow, we know there is something better, something truer. We yearn for goodness and justice in its purest form, but nothing here on earth really matches what we’re looking for.
As C.S. Lewis says in Mere Christianity:
“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”
It’s when the world literally seems like it has gone insane that we frantically start looking around us for hope before despair comes to root.
So, instead of looking around, look up.
One day, the old and broken things will be renewed. As it says in Revelation 21, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’”
Our hope does not rise and fall with the election of leaders or laws signed into order. Our hope is in the God who is unfailingly good, who rules with perfect justice. He calls Himself the Great I Am because He is constant. From the beginning of time He has been sovereign, and He will continue to create, restore, and transform.
So, when our hearts are broken and our future unsure, we sink into the One who will bring justice and goodness in the end. We press into the One who plants love and joy and peace inside us.
Soon enough, love and hope and peace take root and grow.
Let the roots grow deep and the vines grow wild and the branches bloom bright.
Then, Look In.
Genuine, God-inspired love may require some humility and sacrifice. It means recognizing and rooting out the mistrust, fear, and hate in our hearts, which cannot happen without a little pain.
1 John 4:18-19 says, “There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear… So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because He first loved us.”
And if fear is the thing that drives out peace, let’s use the love of God to cast out fear.
Then, as Paul writes in Colossians 3:15, “Let the peace of God rule your hearts.”
Finally, look out.
When the hate swarms so thick that the world grows dark, the only way forward is with light. So, strike a match, light a candle, and pierce the darkness.
There are people hurting and people who need to be heard. See them. Hear them.
Our model is Jesus, “who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead, He emptied Himself by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”
Philippians 2 tells us that if we have experienced the love, encouragement, and mercy of God, then we should walk in humility and focus on the needs of others.
So, Rise Up, Church.
Let us be known for our compassion, not self-righteousness. Let us strive for unity among all our brothers and sisters, regardless of how our differences may try to divide us.
Let us be the Church that Jesus called us to be, every tongue tribe and nation unified under His name and declaring His grace.