Saturday, November 23, 2019

Current Events Are Killing Me

by Sylvia Gaston

I remember taking a Current Events class in high school. That one class and its instructor changed my life forever. I’m sure I took the class to fill an English requirement but it forced me to read the newspaper, watch the news and expose myself to what was happening beyond Hanford High School and my small town home life. This was something that I had never considered important before.

It opened my eyes to a much larger world and gave me a framework for processing my thoughts and beliefs and probably, in part, helped create the controvert I’ve become. I’m assuming this interest in current events eventually propelled me into city politics later in life.

At the time, and for years after, I followed the news and developed my own opinions about the world. I became fascinated with current events, politics, sports, opinions, entertainment and human interest stories.

In my 20s and early 30s, it was easy to take in what was happening in the world and develop my strong opinions about all that was right and wrong with it.

And then God got my attention. My decision to follow Him and His ways radically changed the course of my life and also my view of the world around me.

No longer was I simply ingesting current events and opining upon them, I became disturbed and frustrated about what was happening around me, unable to reconcile a good God with a bad world. I became so disturbed that I withdrew from the pursuit of current event knowledge because it was killing me inside.

Eventually, I matured (a little) and realized that, despite our human impact upon our world, it was not the Eden that God had originally designed and created. He is not responsible for crime, disease and environmental destruction. It is the result of sin – man’s personal choices in the things that surround us.

Instead of anguishing over current events and the plight of man, I realize I can advocate for something better. I can do my small part to be the type of human God would be proud of. I can change my small world and maybe even influence the world of those I’m in contact with. I can pray for God to intervene in situations that desperately need His loving touch – or harsh judgment. Mostly, I can have and share hope – to believe, desire and trust for something better.

I am confident of my future in Heaven. I am confident that whatever I am challenged with on Earth will be shared with our powerful and capable God. In the meantime, my role is not to bury my head in the sand but to participate and advocate.

I know that my prayers have power. I know I can impact certain situations. I know that I can model what it looks like to disagree with others on issues in a respectful and civil way. I know that I love people and can share hope with them, even in the midst of crises. That’s what I can do. 

Jesus’ follower, Paul said, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6 NIV).

We shouldn’t worry about things that are out of our control. Instead, as we hear about what is going on in our community, nation, and the world, we use this information to prepare for now and for the future. We discuss these things with others, using the opportunity to share the hope that can only come from faith and confidence in a powerful God.

Current events are no longer killing me. I don’t avoid the news or shy away from tough topics. I take it all in, pray hard and do what I can do. How about you?

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