No need to panic: God is still working

By The Rev. Jeremy Myers

At what point can we push the proverbial panic button?

Just when it seems we’re beginning to turn a corner and things seem like they are getting a little bit better, a brand-new anxiety-inducing issue emerges. Watching, listening to or reading the news has become an extremely dangerous adventure. Good news seems exceedingly sparse these days. And when we do find some good news, it is often overshadowed by the unrelenting waves of bad news that continue to crash into us.

The last two years have been incredibly challenging, and the hits just keep coming.

I can still remember exactly where I was standing when I first heard about and felt the panic caused by COVID-19. I was pumping gas on the right side of the first pump at JayC on the corner of U.S. 50 and Community Drive. I remember hearing an extremely intense radio personality encouraging his listeners to “check on the elderly.”

Out of a sense of concern, but even more so a desire not to miss the opportunity to harass her, I called my dear mother to “check on the elderly.” At the moment, I was able to find some humor in the tension of the moment.

One lockdown, three variants and two years later, I find nothing to laugh about concerning the pandemic. Regardless of our personal opinions about the pandemic, it has made an indelible mark on our world medically, socially, politically, etc. We find ourselves wishing we could go back to “normal” without any real idea of how to move ahead.

Now, as the pandemic seems to be abating, we have a brand-new issue dominating our news feeds and outlets as Russia has invaded Ukraine. Truly, this issue has been building for quite some time now, but now, it is unavoidable.

War has once again broken out, and we’re left wondering where it will lead. It appears as if the Cold War is once again warming up as America moves troops and resources into closer proximity to the conflict to prepare for the potential of our involvement. The questions and concerns over the use of nuclear weapons continue to scroll across our screens and social media feeds. It would appear as if we have traded one problem for another.

Those are just the capstones of the issues of the last two years. I don’t have the time to go through all of the other issues that have dominated the headlines and public discourse over the last 24 months.

It all brings to mind the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:6-7. He says, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.”

Not exactly the good news we’ve come to expect from Jesus, and he only goes deeper into the darkness from there. It would be easy to get drawn into discussions about the end of the world, but we’ll save that for another time. My concern today is the question from the beginning of this article: At what point can we push the proverbial panic button? According to Jesus, never.

It’s easy for us to look at all of the issues in our world and become overwhelmed by it all. It’s hard to see all of the difficulties that continue to confront us and stay calm. Panic and worry are after all the true great human pastimes.

But even though we don’t understand and the world is spinning well out of our control, God is still God. He is still sovereign. He still has a plan and a purpose, and though we may not see how all of these struggles play into it, he is working.

God is not hindered by contemporary events and trends. God doesn’t get up in the morning, turn on the news, pick up the paper or peruse the internet and wring his divine hands wondering what he’s going to do in light of it all. The Bible tells us that nothing is impossible for God and that the very gates of hell cannot overcome his plans.

We need to trust and rest in the words of Jesus. The bad news will continue to ebb and flow, “but see to it that you are not alarmed.” God is still working. His plans and purposes continue to be in play. There’s no need to panic. Panic never helped anyone anyway.

Instead, let us seek ways in which we can be the calm in the chaos, the presence of peace in the face of war and healing hands and hearts in midst of sickness. Panic only perpetuates and increases the potency of the problems. Compassionately and calmly serving allows us to be part of the solution.

The Rev. Jeremy Myers is the lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Seymour. Read his blog at jeremysmyers.com. Send comments to [email protected]