Internal hatred, violence, racial tension, and political division are descriptors of the time in which we live. Added to this is international crisis wherever we turn. These turbulent times prompt people to fear, stress, and hopelessness. People’s attempts to deal with these on their own in such ways as substance abuse only cause matters to get worse. Thus, the suicide rate is also escalating, especially among young people.
At the root of all of this chaos is the sinful condition of man, which began in the Garden of Eden. Things got so bad that we read this early on in the book of Genesis: “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of he thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5). This eventually prompted God to judge mankind via the flood.
So, the only possible solution to the evils of society is dealing with the problem of sin, which Jesus did by dying on the cross. Those of us, who have put our faith in Him, though we still struggle with the presence of sin in this world, experience hope that stems from forgiveness and true fulfillment that are found in that relationship. In other words, we have become connected with the solution on a personal level. However, I contend that God’s people corporately, the church, as we know it can have a dynamic impact on the chaotic state of society. They can do this in at least three ways:
- They need to get their own house in order, so to speak, by humbly and prayerfully repenting and turning back to God from their own waywardness. As a result, He will not only forgive them of their sins, but will also heal their land. An entire nation benefits from such a revival among God’s people (II Chronicles 7:14).
- Second, as demonstrated by Paul on the ship in the storm as recorded in Acts 27, God’s people can be messengers of hope amid this stormy, confused, and increasingly violent world. They can do this both by communicating the message of hope, the gospel, and by being beacons of hope in a world that is desperate for calm amid the storm.
- A third way that God’s people can make a positive difference in a world of turmoil is that of their unity, which was emphasized by Jesus in His prayer in John 17. People characterized by loving oneness shine as lights in a world that is characterized by hatred and division. This, in turn, can wet people’s appetites to want the same for themselves. Unfortunately, in many cases we have allowed our own divergent political views to lead to internal division, which looks no different than the rest of society.
So, fellow church members, how do you think we are doing in bringing hope to this chaotic world? May we commit ourselves to repentance, communicating a message of hope via our lips and life, and by operating with unity!