The tyranny of the question mark
by Amy Torres
Jan 31, 2013 | 632 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
“In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” — Jesus as recorded in John 16:33

There are times when the unknown drags the corners of my mouth into a tense line, as I brace myself for what may come.

I find the saturation of local and world events overbearing, and my mind reels with concern for our current president, our constitution, our gun laws and our country.

In addition to that, today’s technology allows us to see things happening here and across the globe in real time. As I watch reports broadcast much faster than ever before, it makes the world seem very small and compact.

Even though I deliberately choose to filter much of what I allow into my little bubble, the news of tragedies and the vile baseness of mankind still manages to find its way through far too often.

My heart grieves for my children and grandchildren as I view the increasing violence and self-serving mentality in the world they are inheriting. Questions for their futures bombard my mind. This isn’t the world I want for them.

In these moments of anguish and doubt, I know I must find a way to escape the tyranny of the question mark.

To counteract the negative view, I know it is vital to seek God’s face daily and recount the beauty of his handiwork. No matter how frightening and out of control the world seems, I am confident he is still on his throne and in control.

When I look away from the chaos the media presents on a regular basis, I am able to see him reveal beauty every day, and I can hear the assurance of his voice in the sounds around me, if I listen. The laughter of babies and children is still one of the purest sounds one can hear, as is the melody of a cascading brook or the rushing of the ocean waves.

There is magnificence and beauty even in the simplicity of frost on the windowpane, or dew catching the sunlight in brilliant radiance.

Deliberate study of God’s word is vitally important as well, as he clearly points out his victories to those who are willing to obey his commands and follow his instructions.

I love reading from the Old Testament, where things seemed hopeless, yet those who trusted God found victory time and time again.

Second Chronicles 20 is one of my favorite accounts of God at work. In it, we see King Jehoshaphat facing what appeared to be a hopeless situation. Surrounded by opposing armies on every side, he was afraid and not sure what to do, other than to seek counsel from the Lord Jehovah. King Jehoshaphat admitted his struggle but deliberately chose to ask God for direction, proclaiming a fast for the nation and instructing them to seek the Lord Jehovah, as well.

I find immense encouragement in his words acknowledging God’s past victories and recognition of personal powerlessness: “O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this vast multitude that is coming against us, nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You” (2 Chronicles 20:12).

Those of you who are familiar with the account know God told Jehoshaphat, “Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s” (verse 15b) and “You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord who is with you” (verse 17).

Although we may momentarily find ourselves surrounded by what seems to be an impossible situation, we can still find hope and assurance. God is still in control.

Even though things seem to be decaying around us and we feel as though we are being sucked into the vortex of hopelessness and despair, we can take courage knowing God has a specific plan (Jeremiah 29:11) and will bring it to completion (2 Timothy 1:12). Our job is to seek his face and do what he instructs us to do. We will always be victorious when we obey him.

This world is filled with difficulties. Jesus himself warned us that there would be tribulation and trouble, but he will be our peace, even in the midst of chaos: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (Jesus as recorded in John 14:27).

Knowing this, I am able to step out from under the tyranny of the question mark and able to face whatever may come. God is always with us and will bring his work to completion.

Amy Torres is a published writer and a spiritual adviser and counselor. She and her husband lead the college ministry at First Baptist Church in Patterson.

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