As part of my ongoing efforts to live life less tethered to my phone, last month I turned the notifications off on the News application on my phone. Fringe benefit: Nearly instantly my mornings felt more peaceful. I don’t want to stick my head in the ground, but I also don’t want Google or Apple (or Facebook!) choosing what news I see. And over the last few years the news has proven a particularly unsuitable way to start peaceful days.
Before writing this, I popped into the news to check today’s headlines:
Zuckerberg testimony: Members of Congress grill Facebook CEO (Washington Post)
Raid on Trump’s Lawyer Sought Records of Payments to Women (New York Times)
The Latest: Russian envoy says US has been warned on Syria (Washington Post)
Officers defuse situation with man in Lincoln Wal-Mart threatening to shoot people (both from the Lincoln Journal Star)
In a world of bad news is it possible to not live a life of fear?
Is my only healthy choice to stick my head in the ground, never reading the news, refusing to engage in what’s going on in our country and the world?
I wasn’t expecting my study of “No Fear” verses to lead me to an answer to this question, but it did.My unexpected answer came from Isaiah, an Old Testament prophet who called Israel to repentance and return 700 years before the birth of Christ. The political and religious era Isaiah lived through makes ours look downright peaceful and unified. Israel and later Judah were falling to foreign powers, the people swept up in the river of conquest and captivity.
In this time of danger, war, and political upheaval, God sent Isaiah a message.
For thus the Lord spoke to me with mighty power and instructed me not to walk in the way of this people, saying, “You are not to say, ‘It is a conspiracy!’ In regard to all that this people call a conspiracy, And you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it.
“It is the Lord of hosts whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear, And He shall be your dread. “Then He shall become a sanctuary… (Isaiah 8:12-14a)
There is injustice and oppression in this world, in the news and behind the scenes. I’m going to keep voting against injustice and oppression with my ballot and my dollars. And I’m going to speak up when I see wrong, and do what I can to make my community a place where all can prosper, everyone.
I will let the news sweep me into action.
But I will not let the news sweep me into hopelessness, conspiracy theories, fearing man more than God.
God is a refuge and shelter. I will not live like a refuge-less woman.
“Don’t be like this people, always afraid somebody is plotting against them.
Don’t fear what they fear. Don’t take on their worries.
If you’re going to worry, worry about The Holy. Fear God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
The Holy can be either a Hiding Place or a Boulder blocking your way…
(Isaiah 8:12-14, The Message)
Over the course of my life, I’ve seen the church of the Living God, followers of the resurrected Jesus driven more and more by fear. We sing songs of faith and trust, speak of the bigness and goodness of God, and then live like refuge-less people.
What would it look like for us to listen to Isaiah, and his remedy for this fear?
Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples. And I will wait for the Lord who is hiding His face … I will even look eagerly for Him. Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are for signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion.
When they say to you, “Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter,” should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! (Isaiah 8:16-20a)
My takeaway: 3 ways to live fearlessly, even when the News is bad
- Be more familiar with God’s Word than with the news and current events
- When I am afraid, ask: Which is bigger, this bad news or my God?
- As I read the news or hear bad news, ask: What does God think of this? How would God have me react?
This post is the latest in the NO FEAR Devotional Series. Check back every Tuesday, and read the previous posts in the series here. And If this resonated with you, feel free to share it using the link below: That really helps people to find this site, which hopefully will bless them as it has blessed you!