by Dr. Stan Hudson, who served as a Seventh-day Adventist pastor for 38 years and is currently the Director of Creation Ministries at the North Pacific Union Conference
When I was still pastoring, my personal counsel sessions with members would really get into gear when I asked, “What are you afraid of?” Fear is a powerful motivator in so many of our actions and choices.
And it’s never been more true than today. Are you afraid of Covid 19? How will you choose to act in that fear? Are you afraid of going out? Or if you do go out, are you afraid to cough? Are you afraid to mention doubts about the dangers that are reported in the media, for fear of having an unpopular view? Or even a “dangerous” view? But if you really do infect someone….
How about the “Black Lives Matter” issue? No one says black lives DON’T matter. But how you line up with this movement probably is affected by fear. You can be afraid for blacks dealing with a typical police force. Or you might feel that typical police forces are fine…but if you say so, are you afraid of being labeled as a racist? There aren’t too many fears worse than that. But many Blacks do fear for their lives. Can we sympathize with that fear?
Are you afraid of the November election? If the Republicans are elected, will there be more protests and riots? Will the political divide in this country get worse, or will it get worse if Democrats take over? Take a look at their ads in the media; they are all calculated to make you afraid unless you vote for their guy or gal!
How about global warming? [Hey, I just noticed that “warming” and “warning” are pretty similar words! OK, never mind] Some say it is the number one thing we SHOULD be worried about! If we don’t so something right now our children and the planet are doomed. Media sources feel constrained, as though it’s their evangelistic mission, to warn in the harshest terms. Take a look at the Oregon fires lately. They are all because of global warming. It’s all bad. In fact, when the apparently wonderful truth of serious rain approached, what did they say about that? Oh, no… look out for flooding and landslides! Apparently, if they don’t scare you, they’re not doing their job.
Everything around us seems to be preaching worries about the nearness of death and destruction. But there is one place I go regularly, and it’s kind of like putting on a Covid mask, to not breathe in the virus of fear: it is the realization of what the Book of Daniel reminds us of. The great Empire of Babylon was in apparent control of the world then, with God’s people in subjugation to that power. But this was only the outward appearance. God was in control. And He was able, through Daniel, to convince even the king of Babylon that He was able to raise up and bring down kings and kingdoms. He was in charge of directing all of Satan’s devices to ultimately bring in circumstances that would lead to God’s kingdom being fully established.
And that fact helps me deal with all of the noise of this world. He really does have the whole world in His hands…Republicans and Democrats, blacks and whites, even nature is subject to the God of love. And that thought brings me peace.