How Should You Respond, Properly, To Today’s Troubling Times?

Response in Troubled Times

And there is a proper response! It was proclaimed and lived by Jesus Christ as He stepped into the troubling events of this world in His day. And, through His Body, the Church, He continues to proclaim this same message:

“Re-Think-Act and Believe the Good News!” Mark 1:15 (And for immediate clarity, Mark has already written in Mark 1:1 that the Good News is a Person or, in his words, the “beginning of the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God…”

Yes, that is still the message of Jesus and His people to you, and everyone, in our world, right in the middle of our current and troubling events! Jesus is God’s basic and fundamental response to the political lies and insanity, murder of innocent victims, bombings, and human trafficking – God’s response to everything! He is the proper response because He is GOD’s response shared with us in our humanity to all sin, evil and rebellion within creation! It is the response of Him Who created all things and of the One in Whom we all live and move and have our being. The One in, and through, and by, and for Whom all things are created and sustained (as my brother Baxter Kruger likes to say!)

If you’ve already misheard and think this sounds too simple, or too unrealistic, or too cognitive to address problems compared to the “hands-on solutions” needed in our complex world, then you’ve already misheard what’s been stated, so let me make it a little plainer!

How could it be too simple when it has something to do with trusting the Relational God Revealed in Jesus?:

Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God, this deep, deep wisdom? It’s way over our heads. We’ll never figure it out.” – Romans 11:33 The Msg.

The Solution is simply stated, yes, but simple, NO! ONLY Jesus could, and can, and is, and will pull off helping you to trust Him that He really is your, OUR, only Good News in the face of all troubles!

How could this response be unrealistic when Jesus tells us that our response of peace and reconciliation with each other has been pulled off by and given to us by HIM, God Himself?! That HE has responded for us and acted in our place and on our behalf, in our fallen humanity, as our Good News????

How could this be too cognitive or something just “up in your head” when it clearly addresses the foremost way in which you receive and process troubling events – tossing, turning and dealing with them in your mind, right?! Isn’t it also addressing the problem behind most poor and evil events – NOT thinking along with Jesus about Who He is, and who He says our neighbors and we are in Him? He says we are all reconciled to Him and, in Him, to each other! Check it out:

1But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. –Ephesians 2

How could it be too cognitive when Jesus loved His Father, and commands us to do the same, with all of His heart, soul, MIND, and strength? A response from our whole humanity matters and is given to us from our Father, through Jesus and by the Spirit! Responding in Christ’s love to God and our neighbor:

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[c]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ – Luke 10:27

OF COURSE all of this means participating in some kind of real everyday, human action – to RETHINKACT in relationship! RE-THINK-ACTING in the Light of Who Jesus is as our Good News in flesh, which means:

1.) Your first and primary response to today’s troubles is Jesus Himself, Who has responded properly to His Father in word and deed, on humanity’s behalf, in the Spirit, and Who has “overcame the world” (today’s troubles!) as He puts it! Yes, you are reading me right, JESUS HIMSELF is your proper response to trouble, coming to you and to me freely and graciously, as a pure gift! God is with us and for us IN FLESH! Whew! Wow!

It’s the next few things that become more COSTLY to you because Jesus also shares Himself with us as the One Who “became poor that we might become rich” and Who said “whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves, pick up their cross daily, and follow Me”. Starting to see the cost yet??? Haha

Here are other costly things you can participate in with Jesus as a proper response to today’s troubles:

2.) Place your single-minded faith and trust in Jesus Christ, given to you as a gracious gift, and relate with Him in union and fellowship! Ask Him, personally, how you might respond to any given situation! He knows exactly what to do – but be prepared for plenty of mysterious surprises because His variety of responses to people in situations is as varied as there are people and situations to respond to!

The high cost of trusting Jesus is that you can no longer trust anyone or anything else, including yourself, like you trust Him! In the Light of His Lordship, you understand yourself to be a dependent creature whose entire outlook and motives apart from Him are now called into question and found lacking! If you could have responded properly to your troubles then there was no need for Him to come and do it! You can’t trust what things look like, feel like, or sound like – you can trust ONLY Him despite those things or outcomes! You no longer trust in your own ideas of independence and freedom, your own pride, smarts, things, race, nation, guns, policies, votes, gender, economic status, good works or anything else! You trust ONLY IN JESUS and identify ONLY in and with Him!

This means that despite your daily troubles, and even in the middle of them, you can, and should, cast all of your care upon Jesus for He cares for you! It is the reason so many of us pray to Jesus, and read the bible, and congregate together as His Church (believers) regularly – to meet Jesus there and have Him remind us of Who He is, and who we are in Him, and what He has accomplished and made of the word despite our sin, and the kind of good works He does in the middle of everyday troubles in flesh till He returns!

To conclude, this is both encouragement and a warning because, as Karl Barth has rightly stated: “No neutrality with God is possible. We [YOU] must choose between the true God and idolatry.”

And because God has been Revealed in Jesus, what He gives us as a response will look more like God the Trinity in character. More like self-giving than selfishness. More like other-centeredness than self-centeredness. More like self-sacrificing and forgiveness than living at the expense of others. More like being social and relational than being totally closed and hiding from others. As my friend Rodeen Williams wrote recently “Made in their image, genuine freedom is best realized and enjoyed in the consciousness of our union with Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

As the Holy Spirit encounters you, WILL YOU RESPOND PROPERLY by receiving Jesus and this God Revealed in Him – this God Who has already received you? Will you “Re-Think-Act and Believe the Good News!”? Mark 1:15

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