Why are we so surprised to be living in such difficult times?
Weren’t Paul’s last words to Timothy a warning of such things?
- “In the last days there will be very difficult times.
- For people will love only themselves and their money.
- They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God,
- disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful.
- They will consider nothing sacred.
- They will be unloving and unforgiving;
- they will slander others and have no self-control.
- They will be cruel and hate what is good.
- They will betray their friends, be reckless,
- be puffed up with pride,
- and love pleasure rather than God.” 2 Timothy 3.1-4 NLT
When I read these words, I am amazed that in many ways, very little has changed in our world.
But if “difficult times” have been present off and on for two millennia and beyond, then why do we wring our hands, whining that surely this is the end of the world?
God is still on the throne.
Whatever is happening in your world today… it did not take Him by surprise. If He allows such difficulty to intersect with your life, be confident that He will put Himself right in the middle of it in order to provide for you.
I don’t know what you are experiencing as you read these words. But as I write them, there is not only great upheaval and division in my own country, but there is war, famine, pandemic disease, and environmental warnings all over the world. People are afraid. People are angry. Many are suffering. And even some believers have become chronically forgetful.
We forget that our Christian faith was not only born in the midst of political turmoil (murderous King Herod and Christian persecutor Nero), but it has prevailed throughout time with both weak and strong leaders, believers and scoffers. Times of war, and times of peace.
How should we conduct ourselves during difficult times when all of the things listed in today’s verse are truly personified in our daily news and our daily encounters?
We should do exactly what Paul exhorted Timothy, “You must remain faithful to the things you have been taught.” 2 Timothy 3.14
Here are a few suggestions for living in difficult times:
- Pray repentance and saving faith “for kings and all who are in high positions” everywhere. (1 Timothy 2.2)
- Lift up Christ and gather with people, in beautiful diversity and harmony to worship God together in healthy, holy, humble churches.
- Love each other “earnestly from a pure heart” (1 Peter 1.22), remaining “unstained from the world” (James 1.27).
- Intercede in prayer and take positive action for all those in the world who are suffering.
- Spread the great good news of the saving grace of Jesus Christ to all people.
These are characteristics of reconciliation. And, aren’t we called to be reconcilers?
“[Reconcilers] bring people together. They hate war, violence, contentiousness, division caused by race, economics, gender and ideology. They believe that being peaceable and making peace trumps all other efforts in one’s lifetime. A Christian is mightily stirred into action when he sees those dividing walls that separate people, each of whom was made uniquely and loved by God. What an incredible example he is to exploitative and arrogant people who walk through every day dividing and diminishing people all around them. Christ-followers knows his natural human tendency and seeks God’s power to replace it with another tendency: redeeming, healing love.”Gordon MacDonald
Difficult times are inevitable. May our own personal and corporate responses bring reconciliation and peace.
May the grace of Christ, the love of God, and the friendship of the Holy Spirit bring you comfort and strength, Lucinda
“Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity and Strength”
©2022 Lucinda Secrest McDowell www.LucindaSecrestMcDowell.com
Lucinda Secrest McDowell is a storyteller and seasoned mentor who engages both heart and mind while “Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.” She has authored 15 books including “Soul Strong – 7 Keys to a Vibrant Life” and “Life-Giving Choices – 60 Days to What Matters Most.” She writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and shares encouraging words at LucindaSecrestMcDowell.com