I just came through another sleepless night. It was one of those nights when I just could not stop my mind from rambling all around. Mostly I was thinking about everything that is going on in our nation: about the situation last week at our nation’s capitol; about what could turn out to be a pretty messy transfer of power come January 20; about all those who wait in the darkness to see where they will fit into whatever happens next.
“Another sleepless night … Trying to get my head right … Can’t be sure about tomorrow ...
People hiding in dark shadows … Trying to destroy a way of life … Working in the shadows … Hiding faces from the world … Division is the flag they have unfurled.”
So, I did what I always do when I can’t sleep: I sang a song to myself, trying to get everything else out of my mind; and I thought about some scripture. When I did, two passages came to mind.
The first was Psalm 46:10 … “Be still and know that I am God.”
To be still means a lot of things to a lot of people. I think what we need to do today, however, is to just stop talking so much; stop being so dependent on our cell phones; stop trying to be louder than everyone else; stop moaning and mumbling; and to stop posturing (or trying to look more important than we really are).
The verse also says to “know” that God is God. Not knowing with our heads, but knowing with our hearts, way down in our “knowers” that God is on the throne no matter what is happening around us or in our nation or around the world. Just know.
The second verse was from First Corinthians 16, verses 13 and 14. In the NIV Bible, those verses say: “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.” I think that is pretty straightforward.
As believers, we need to (always) be on guard. According to scripture, our enemy is always stalking around to see who he might devour. Our adversary is always ready to make life as difficult for us as he can, whether that be individually or corporately. We must be on our guard at all times.
It also says that we should stand firm in the faith. Too many times, when things look hard or we face troubles, we tend to lose faith. Or, maybe a better way to put it would be to say that our faith wavers and loses its steadfastness. When that happens, it makes it so much easier for the enemy to have his way with us. Stand firm, my friends. And the Apostle Paul states in Ephesians 6 … “having done all, stand.”
The passage goes on to exhort us to be courageous and strong. I think these things go hand in hand with the first two: we must courageously be on guard, and we must stand strong and firm in our faith.
Verse 14 points to the manner we must be on guard, stand firm in the faith, be strong, and be courageous: we must do this all (and — for that matter — everything we do) in love.
Maybe, instead of riots and protests, it’s time for one of those love fests some might remember from back in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Or, better yet, maybe we should all reread - and strive to live by - First Corinthians chapter 13:4-8. … “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always endures. Love never fails.”
The end of the chapter tells us one more, very important thing about love.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”