(Photo: CJ Rapp)
Have you watched the news lately? Most of the recent stories cause me to feel frustrated, anxious, fearful, sometimes angry, and frankly, disturbed. Lately, our daily dose of bad news has included the IRS scandal, a poor economy, mandated insurance, horrific local crime and chaos, and reports of terror threats targeting the Olympics. As icing on the cake, the news from our own families and close friends can also be disturbing – illness, job loss, foreclosure, divorce, and crumbling friendships all feel overwhelming.
With all the bad news I sometimes wonder what the world is coming to!
Naturally one question continually comes to mind as we contemplate the news of the day – why? It's normal to ask why, but it is not reasonable to expect the answer to an unanswerable question. When we ask why, we really are wanting an explanation. Somehow, I doubt that the explanation would make sense to most of us this side of heaven. I've found that asking why keeps me stuck in a cycle of frustration, anger, and anxiety.
David has some great advice to keep us steady in unstable times. In Psalm 16:8 he said, "I have set the Lord continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken." (NASB)
David focused on God first and then the news. The result was complete security and peace. To set the Lord before you, stop asking why and instead, ask relationship based questions like:
God, would you reveal your goodness in the face of evil?
Father, why is this news triggering fear, anxiety, or worry in me? Which of your promises do I not trust? Do I believe a lie about your good intentions for my future or your unfailing love for me?
Jesus, would you teach me to focus on you despite what I hear?
Holy Spirit, I feel overwhelmed, would you strengthen me?
Asking relationship-based questions will keep the Lord "continually before" us instead of the news being foremost. Look for the goodness of God, the love of Jesus, and the presence and strength of the Holy Spirit in everything.
When this is my practice, I find my questions turn into prayers and conversations with the Lord. When I stop stressing about what the world is coming to, I press into my relationship with Jesus and I experience comfort and peace. I also have the blessed reassurance that no matter what happens in the world, and no matter what news I get, He is in control and therefore I am not shaken.
What do you do when news overwhelms you? I challenge you to stop asking for explanations of the senseless… Instead ask the questions that lead you into deeper intimacy and greater dependence upon the Lord.
Look to Him. Ask for a revelation of the promise of His presence in the everyday moments of your life.
The Lie: Asking "why" will help me understand the unthinkable and feel better.
The Truth: No matter what is happening, there is peace in His presence. You will be unshaken when you set the Lord before you.
You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever. Ps. 16:11
Committed to #trashthelies.
CJ Rapp is the founder of Trash the Lies® women's conferences. Coming to Las Vegas May 3, 2014 at Green Valley Ranch – Cherished! A Trash the Lies® Conference. Tickets available via EventBrite.