By James Sanders
Everyone nowadays has some scheme or plot for setting things aright. He knows what is wrong and how to correct it. Colleges, for example, are filled with students who have found the solution to the world’s woes. And yet – these same students usually cannot even find their razors in the morning. Even churches are not without assault. Every congregation has those who have nothing to offer but criticism. “The personal work program will never work.” “No need to have a meeting – no one would come anyway.” “The only way we’ll ever solve our problems here is to hold a few funerals.” And on it goes. Nothing is right and everything is wrong.
In the political sphere there is even more turmoil. Just about everyone knows what is wrong with the country and how to remedy it. But come to think of it, I cannot recall a time when it was ever right. There have been times when it was right for you and you and you – but never all at the same time. Perhaps rather than trying to remedy something we should be trying to make out with what we’ve got.l Some time ago, I ran across a new solution to the war in Indochina. It seems Paul Lindstorm, a denominational preacher in Illinois, has discovered a new work for a church. Lindstorm announced that unless the then President Nixon took action by the middle of May to free American prisoners – he with his elite commando unit of 105 American volunteers and thirteen foreign mercenaries would storm the Communist POW camps and release the prisoners themselves.2 You read it right. Won’t we ever get Church separated from State? Preachers (in some cases even gospel preachers) are in politics more than the politicians are. Everything is in chaos. The world is just like an insane asylum. There is not a person in it who will admit that he is crazy.
Problems and solutions – how should the Christian view them? Is there no balm in Gilead (Jer. 8:22)? “In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him” (Ecc. 7:14).
Our devotion to the Lord must not vary. It cannot be affected by outward events and circumstances. In the day of prosperity (and it is but a day), we are to be joyful. With gladness of heart we are to serve Him. And in the day of adversity (and that too is but a day), the servant of the Lord must consider. There is a judgment to come which will rectify all seeming irregularities. We must be patient for greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world (1 Jno. 4:4b). “The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof” (Psa. 97:1). This world belongs to Him who made it. This is my Father’s world.
Of personal calamities, let the servant of the Lord again consider: “Difficulties are God’s errands; and when we are sent upon them we should esteem it a proof of God’s confidence – as a compliment from Him.”3
1. Donald Day, The Autobiography of Will Rogers (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1949), p. 292.
2. “World Scene,” Christianity Today, May 12, 1972, p. 48.
3. Henry Ward Beecher.
Truth Magazine, XX:3, p. 7-8
January 15, 1976