What's going on?
It is too easy to be a pessimist today! There is so much on the domestic and international scene that seems chaotic and we are left wondering where on earth it will all end up. How will Brexit end up for us? Could it be true that the US are going to give us Donald Trump as leader of the free world? And what is Putin up to? That is not to get into the seemingly intractable, complex and deadly conflcts causing tens of thousands to commit their families to unimaginably perilous journeys just for the chance of life. I could go on......
So what are we to do? We could keep our heads down and hope it doesn't affect us OR we could get serious about our faith! Let's face it, whilst we must pray for those who lead locally, nationally and internationally, no government will fix this mess, nor will any human institution. If we are serious about our faith then we have to take God seriously; the God who changes hearts and nations.
We are not mere passive recipients of the Gospel. We are those who embody it and proclaim it and live it. I am not sure exactly what you can do becuase we are all different, with potentials and possibilities. However, there is one thing we can do - as individuals and together. Bill Graham once said that the three most important things a Christian can do in evangelism are, number one, pray; number two, pray; and number three, pray. That's got to be where we start if we are to bring some sense to the madness and nonsense we experience around us. In a world where so many people have turned from God we can be tempted to retreat into our safe but isolated little corners. But that's not what we are here for! We are here for the people around us.
When I read of Bible characters like Nehemiah, who prayed urgently and faithfully for his people and nation, I want to have such impact. But look how he started. He began on his own, one solitary person, and he began with repentance. I realise that seems like an old-fashioned word but it is simply the most radical self-awareness. Repentance is that moment when you really know how much you need the freedom and transformation only God can deliver. Nehemiah recognised and confessed his own very personal sins - but also those of his own kith and kin, his own nation. Then he prayed for his nation to be restored.
Even though there appear to be a multitude of reasons to join the pessimists let's not get sucked in. We are made for more! Pray, pray, pray that you are and that you will be where God needs you to be to make that difference He needs you to make.