“They are trying to take over the world!” she exclaimed. And inwardly, I prayed, waiting for her to tell me her concerns. Would it be pandemic related—vaccines/no vaccines, mask/no masks? Would it be about the war? Social media? The Border Wall? Currency or Bitcoin? Buying metals? Even paper, plastic, or reusable bags have made grocery shopping a bastion of contention. Sadly, to some, it feels that no place is safe, no person is safe, and that the world will implode any moment.
Whether in a scheduled counseling session, sitting with a friend, in the store, or on the phone, at any given time, these are the conversations that we find ourselves on an almost daily basis. How can we respond? How can the Bible direct these conversations to bring comfort in this time of confusion?
Galatians 6:1-10 is a good passage to remind ourselves to pray through before we wade any further into the muck. This conversation is the opportunity to restore a brother or sister in a spirit of gentleness. We are not here to rally around an agenda but to bear one another’s burdens. And this conversation allows us the humble privilege to enter in and provide a biblical perspective.
Acknowledge the Fear
Whether it be war, famine, political affiliation, the economy, gas prices…well, there are a lot of things that a person can feel fearful about. Fear can spout anger, despair, or arrogance, but fear drives the conversation. How can you encourage this person (1 Thessalonians 5:14)? Acknowledge that things might look bleak from an earthly perspective, admit that situations don’t always make sense to us and that political leaders fail us. These are true things.
Turn Their Eyes to the Eternal
This is where we can hold out hope with wide open hands as we unleash His Word. You might take them to Psalm 2 and show that God rules the rulers. And then, invite them into the very throne room of God Himself. Revelation chapters 4 & 5 are an astounding glimpse into the heavenlies! Have them read it aloud and emphasize what the Lord has revealed to John to write down and reveal to us. Show how Psalm 2 is unveiled by this passage. Whatever is happening is doing so under our magnificent Father’s gaze! He will right every wrong but in the tension of His perfect judgment and grace.
Give Gospel Glory
This is the time to talk about the Lamb Who was slain. You may not have time to read all of this, but portions of the night of the crucifixion should be examined (Matthew 26-28, Mark 14-15, Luke 22:39-23, John 18-19). What seemed like the worst thing to the apostles was actually the most wondrous thing for humanity. We may not know what He will do in our season, but we know that He is the one Who brings astounding good from evils for those who love Him (Romans 8:28). Continue in the Gospel to read the resurrection (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, or John 20).
This is where more prayer and knowledge of your counselee (or friend) will direct your decision on which to offer:
The first letter of Peter addresses suffering in all spheres of life (including government, labor, home, marriage, and church community).
- If your person feels guilty over his or her mistrust, Psalm 107 is a wonderful reminder that He hears the calls of His people no matter what, even as He sovereignly directs their lives.
- Acts 2:14-41—Peter’s passionate plea to repent and turn to the very Messiah they had crucified. This might be helpful if this person feels like they are better than the political person he or she has not forgiven. Jesus died for that one as well and he or she is not beyond His mercy if there is repentance. Romans 1:18-2:11 is more direct.
- Have them memorize Jude 17-22. This doesn’t surprise our triune God. Whether there is or is not a big conspiracy, there are scoffers who follow their own passions. But we, the beloved, are to build ourselves in faith and pray in the Spirit, even as we keep ourselves in the love of God and wait for the mercy of Jesus Christ that will lead us into eternal life. Therefore, we can have mercy on our fearful friends, some must be snatched, and some must be reminded of the fear of the Lord.
- If they are still timid, have them read the Book of Revelation and remind them that nothing will change the ending.
- Have them journey with the Psalmist through the Songs of Ascent (Psalm 120-134). From the deepest dark at the beginning of the psalm in 120 to the glorious worship in 134, the journey of the pilgrim often seems to be a mirror of ours.
- The glories of Exodus 1-15 often remind us of the God who leads His people out of slavery into the worship of Him, and in miraculous ways.