The Apostle Paul gives the Philippians some practical and amazing admonition:
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6-7, NKJV)
Back in the 50’s Charles Schultz adapted Paul’s teaching and placed it in the mouth of Peanut’s resident theologian Linus van Pelt. The often crabby and cranky Lucy is anxious that the never-ending rain might flood the whole world. Linus reminds her of a promise from God in Genesis and Lucy is comforted. The comic strip ends with the affirmation “Sound theology has a way of doing that.” In short, Bible knowledge has the side-benefit of reassuring the believer about the various anxieties of life.
My father taught me a similar lesson back in 1983. I was 17 years old and the USSR was still very powerful and threatening during the administration of President Reagan. Our family had gathered to watch a nuclear doomsday TV movie called “The Day After.” I was greatly distressed by the pathetic wandering of Jason Robard’s disfigured character through the post-holocaust radioactive wasteland. I asked Dad (who was sitting in his favorite recliner) if he was worried such a horrible scenario might come to pass. He said:
“It isn’t going to happen because the Bible tells us how the world will end. Nuclear war isn’t on the table. The Lord will return like a thief in the night and THAT will be the surprise that shocks the world. But, in truth, if the Lord determines that nuclear war was going to happen, no one on earth could stop it. So don’t worry, leave it to God to work out.”
Those words from my father had an immediate salutary effect upon me and have been formative in my thoughts about the faux-emergencies of the day. While nuclear war with the USSR is no longer greatly feared, other scary bogeymen are continually propped up by the media to terrify a theologically unsound populace: Will a gigantic asteroid hurtle from outer space and smash the earth with the force of countless hydrogen bombs? Could be! Perhaps a local galactic supernova will bathe the earth in harmful radiation and destroy our precious atmosphere! Or the super-volcano that lies under Yellowstone will erupt and cause wintry famine that kills billions! Will carbon dioxide-induced global warming melt the ice caps and cause global flooding?
On and on the fear-mongering speculators work an insidious web of anxiety, promoting unease and discomfort about the future. But God’s still and quiet voice commands us to be ‘anxious for nothing’ and my father’s words echo in my mind. “…don’t worry, leave it to God to work out.”
That is the job of the Christian, isn’t it? Our spiritual avocation is not to prevent climate change, or to promote green technology, or to dig nuclear bunkers, or to stockpile guns and ammo, but rather to be about our Father’s work. We don’t have to spend priceless time fretting about the fantasies of faithless men fashioned to cause confusion and panic. The scripture assures us that the world will come to an end at the time and place of God’s choosing. Before that happens, the seasons will continue unaltered as witness to God’s love and mercy. When Noah climbed down out of the ark, God said:
“While the earth remains, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:22, NKJV)
It is thought-provoking to consider that thousands of years before the global warming scare, Noah understood that the passing of the seasons will never again be disrupted by a natural disaster! God has given us the seasons as a demonstration of His love and provision for man. Paul told the Lystrans:
“Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” (Acts 14:17, NKJV)
So, faithful Christians, we know that man-made global climate change is not coming to devastate the planet. Rather, God will send divine fire to melt the planet in His own good time and on His timetable! (2 Peter 3:12) Meanwhile, fortunately for us, God has given us a witness and He does good by providing us with the fruitful seasons. As long as the earth lasts God will ensure that they do not cease. We can rest in the peace that passes understanding that God has this world firmly in control. Like Lucy we can let scripture take a load off our minds. Let us be about the Father’s work.
“Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!” (John 4:35, NKJV)
Bart Shaw, firstname.lastname@example.org, 3/09