The great theologian Francis Schaeffer once said, “Bible-believing Christians should never have the reaction designated by the term shocked.”
That quote has always stayed with me as it helps me be intentional not just with my reactions to the world, but also my expectations. If we think about it, the Bible clearly tells us what is wrong with the world. The whole story of Scripture is about how a disease called sin has entered into every human being’s life as it draws us away from God.
If we truly understand how detrimental sin is, we should expect this world to be exactly the way that it is.
One of my favorite comedians said it best when he said:
“I’ve never met a person in my life that I couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that they are capable of doing awful things.”
When we’re watching the news and we see that something terrible has happened or somebody has done something truly horrifying, the reality is that as Christians, we shouldn’t be shocked by this. This isn’t to say that people don’t have a right or even a responsibility to mourn, lament, or grieve as those are key to processing emotions well and ultimately landing at the destination of praise in our faith. But what this does mean is that in certain situations where most people would react in outrage, anger, or anxiety, we as Christians have an opportunity to go above that to display the heart of our Father.
One of my favorite qualities about someone is their ability to react well when situations demand an extreme reaction. It’s not that the person is denying the reality of their circumstances, it’s their ability to look at in light of what they believe so that they can move forward in a way that shines a lot on God’s presence in their lives. God’s peace truly does surpass all understanding (Philippians 4:7) and that includes our natural human response to tragedy and evil.
Pastor Rich Villodas put it perfectly when he said:
“In a world torn by rage and anxiety, one of the greatest gifts followers of Jesus are called to offer is a simple, non-anxious presence. Not a presence removed by this reality, but a presence that refuses to be shaped by it.”
At the end of the day when the whole world seems to be panicking and people wonder what is going on, we as Christians not only know the answer to that question, but we also know the solution to the problem as well: Jesus.
Christian Ethics Professor David W. Jones put it beautifully when he said:
“When we find ourselves surprised at the decay, trials, and troubles of the world, it may be an indication that we were not viewing the world through a biblical lens.”
Let’s use our lives as an opportunity to have a humble expectation of the world so that instead of a life characterized by panic and anxiety, we can provide a peaceful presence in the lives of those who may not know God yet.
John 16:33 reminds us:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
While the world may look out of control, we worship a God who isn’t and it’s because of that truth that we can live with peace now knowing what is to come.