Gloom, despair, agony, repentance and mercy

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I guess you have to pick your poison. Tornadoes in Oklahoma, hurricanes in Florida, superstorms in New England, earthquakes in California, shootings, bombs, abduction, epidemic, drought, infestation, pestilence, plague, processed meat — no matter where you go, there is a very real, imminent threat to your life, your family, your church, your friends and your community. What are we going to do? Where are we going to go?

Are there really more threats on our lives? Or is there just more breaking news about threats to our lives? Has anyone done the research? Are there really more people dying from those things, or is there just more gloom, despair and agony thrust upon me each day?

A long time ago, the apostle Paul wrote that “the present form of this world is passing away” (1 Corinthians 7:31). He wrote that in the context of urging some Christians not to get too attached to the things of the world. They won’t last. And each tragedy, disaster and act of violence that claims life and makes us afraid is a powerful reminder that it’s all going to be gone someday (2 Peter 3:10-13), to replaced by something new and much, much better.

So how do we react to the events? How do we respond to the news? If someone close to us is affected, we show mercy help them through it in every way we can. If they are far away, we pray and contribute to support those who are in that place providing help.

But we also keep Jesus’ words in mind: “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). Headline news provides a vivid reminder of our sin and its consequences in this world, and the only cure is the forgiveness and life we have through our faith in Jesus Christ. Let the headlines send you running to Him, and then back out into the world with His mercy.

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