I don’t know about you, but lately I have been feeling a great deal of tension. Not from my own life necessarily, though there is always plenty in my world to deal with. This apprehension is coming from the outside. I don’t watch the news. I am limiting my social media time. Still, there seems to be a shroud of gloominess resting over everything. Like it’s in the air. We’re all breathing it. I feel it in my body. The way my shoulders tense up. The way my mind races. It seems it is affecting me even when I am unaware of it.
Friends are feeling it too. I regularly hear discussions, both red and blue, about the changes in our country, world events, and of course the pandemic and everything that goes with it. Polar opposite views. Anger and frustration. Add to that, the funk that surrounds me annually at the 9-11 anniversary and I am feeling a great sense of unease and disquiet.
The arguments are getting louder. The fear is on the increase, which is saying a lot because it was already higher than ever before. There is no trust to speak of. The sense of community has eroded and washed away as fingers are pointed and names are called. The biggest concern I see is that if we don’t “do something” everything is lost. It is all up to us. But is it? We are not created to carry that type of burden. It is too heavy for our shoulders.
Historically, there are seasons of seismic shifts every couple of generations. From biblical times forward to the present, governments rose and fell, war shifted the power structures, one people group pushed out another. People are dispersed. It has been this way for as far back as we can see. What we are experiencing is nothing new. It is only new to us. We were unaware before because we have short memories.
Our forbearers could tell you about hardship and turmoil like never before. World Wars that seemed as if the end of time had arrived. The Great Depression where fortunes disappeared over night. Epidemics that killed populations and wiped out entire people groups. People fleeing from dictators and dictators ruthlessly killing their own people. People groups forced from their homes and into servitude on every continent. Tribes killing other tribes in every civilization. There is nothing new under the sun.
For me to think our own season of shifts is the first time, or the most important one, is silly and honestly, pretty arrogant. The urgency that somehow this is worse than it has ever been is a stretch of my very limited self-important imagination. It feels overwhelming to my heart, but all of history says that time is marching on just as it always has. I am simply living through this portion instead of reading about it in a book. It is messier in person than the clean and clear analysis that comes from 2020 hindsight. Decisions are made without the knowledge of what is happening in every sector of the world. Those motivations and the understanding of how it all fits together won’t be comprehended for years to come when our children’s children read about this era.
So, what to do? How to respond in these messy unseen places? Panic? Hide? Stand up? Shout? What is the solution to this harsh emotional environment in which I find myself? What is the answer for my wrestling spirit?
God has not fallen off his throne. He is not taken off guard by elections or decisions of our leaders. He is aware of the state of our country, but more importantly the state of our hearts. He will use our free-will human decisions for our good, one way or another. He’s got the whole world in his hands…and in his heart. He is for us no matter what human mess we make. He will not abandon us. He will not forsake me. He holds me close to his heart. I simply need to humble myself, relax and let him hold me. It is the safest place to be in times like these. It is the place he pours out his secrets and opens his truth. He says, “Be anxious for nothing. Rest in me. Lay your burdens down. Relax. I’ve got this.” When I sit with him everything else fades away for a bit because he is so big and I am so small. I see with his eyes the pain of the world and the groaning. I cry out to him for peace. He wipes my tears away and says to my heart, “Shhhh. Peace be still. Relax.”