This past week, I had several opportunities to talk to people who were discouraged. Some were troubled by recent world events, and others more concerned with personal matters. I think we can all sympathize with how they're feeling. Sometimes life's just plain hard, and it's easy to get wrapped up in the problems and allow the magnitude of our worry to consume us. In doing so, however, we may take on responsibilities that God never intended us to have, often feeling crushed under the burden.
A careful search of Scripture demonstrates that the antidote to this problem is in practicing Long View and Short Sight.
Many people who invest significant amounts of time watching the news, keeping current with political trends, and investing major amounts of emotional energy in society's ebb and flow feel that what they are doing is important. Many of them, however, become discouraged by what they see, and rightly so. The world's wracked by sin and morally adrift.
To those discouraged by world events, I encourage you to mediate on the Long View.
Consider the arc of history, from creation until now. Societies grow and change. Churches bloom and wither. Governments rise and fall. Cherished values have their moment in the sun, only to be tossed aside in favor of something else.
Temporary popularity of biblical morals is no more a victory for God than temporary unpopularity is a loss. Through every rise and fall, Jehovah still reigns, secure and unchanging.
Our little systems have their day;
They have their day and cease to be:They are but broken lights of thee,And thou, O Lord, art more than they.
(Tennyson, In Memoriam A.H.H.)
"The arc of history is long," says Russell Moore, riffing on an old quote, "but it bends toward Jesus."
Where we live along that arc is unknown to us, but we can rest assured that God is bending the curve to suit his will.
It's important to remember that as Christians, our citizenship is in heaven, not on earth; and as citizens of heaven, we've been given specific instructions regarding how we are to invest our energies. Most of these tasks are couched in terms of the immediate: ask for daily bread; pray for grace in time of need. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; give thanks in all circumstances. Seek God now; show kindness to the poor; share the Gospel; love God and love your neighbor.
Let's be sure we're not so busy hand-flapping over Long View events that we neglect the daily tasks God's given us.
Not that the Long View events aren't to concern us, but we need to put them into proper perspective. In doing so, we can commit them to the providence of God through prayer as we seek strength for our daily work.
After all, it's only through these "short-sighted" efforts that we can have any real impact on the Long View.