by Jodi Hiser
Like A.A. Milne’s character, Piglet, I struggle with fear and anxiety. I tend to see all the scary outcomes of a situation instead of the beauty that exists from a single moment. I fear the current news reports because the events of our day are so unnerving. My heart rate rises when I listen to the radio, social media, or podcasts about the dark and foreboding tales of our current global crises.
For all of the Piglets of this world, reality can be frightening; the days in which we live are uncertain. They have sadly been uncertain since Adam and Eve first disobeyed God’s command in the garden. The epochs of history have been scarred with times of rebellion, war, genocide, pandemic, and corruption. Today is no different; we are assaulted in all directions from evil rising with the upper hand.
We look, horrified, at the events of our day, and with gaping mouths we sit paralyzed at the fight that never seems to be won. When will it be enough? Will the evil ever stop? How should Christians combat the wrong? What is our place in it all, and how are we to live?
As in the wintery scene with Pooh hunting for the Woozle of Hostile Intent, the Piglets of this world choose to run away. But running away only feeds our fear. In the midst of uncertainty, it is our job to stand firm and look up, past our surroundings, focusing our eyes Heavenward. It is in the action of looking up that we remind ourselves of God’s steadfast and unwavering truths. His immutable truths will always apply in every era of time.
Truth #1: Our God is a covenant-keeping God.
In the book of Genesis, God reveals something about Himself in the first covenant of grace with Abraham. God says in Genesis 17 that He will establish His everlasting covenant with the offspring of Abraham throughout the generations. This covenant involves a promise from God to be their God. This promise was made for Abraham and his descendants, continuing in the subsequent generations forever. And Paul discusses this covenant in his epistles, explicitly stating that every child of faith is an heir to this promise (Galatians 3:7 and Romans 4:13-21). As daughters of Christ, do we live in awe that the God of this universe has chosen to be our God?
We can rejoice today knowing that God declares every believer as His very own, no matter our past, no matter our weak faith, no matter our fearful shortcomings. And like a loving Father, He watches over us and intercedes for us. God does not forget His covenant people. He never leaves them alone. He is God to His people with an everlasting hand of covenantal remembrance.
When we see the evil raging around us, we can rest assured that God sees it too. He sees every injustice to His children and every evil act forced upon the innocent. He is not impotent to rescue, but awaits the perfect, foreordained time for the ultimate destruction of evil. We can rest in our covenant God, knowing that He will fulfill His promises, and that He has a predestined appointment to destroy evil once and for all.
Truth #2: God will destroy evil and death in His perfect time.
Our covenant God has always worked ‘within the fullness of time’. The Israelites, under Egyptian bondage, groaned under the weight of slavery for four hundred years. Oppression reigned, and the people cried out to God, asking for a savior. But only in the fullness of time did God send Moses to deliver the people.
As the timeline of history unfolded in the Old Testament, God’s people continued to cry out, wondering when the Messiah would come to save them from further oppression. As the years before Christ ebbed away, these generations groaned from a silence from God under a span of another four hundred years as time ticked slowly on. And yet, “when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” (Galatians 4:4-5)
Today we stand like the Hebrew slaves, like the Jews of the first few centuries B.C., and we ask, “How long, oh Lord? When will the evil ever stop?” But in that lament, we often fail to keep our eyes fixed on the promises of God. Malachi 4:1 says, “For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace and all the arrogant and every evil doer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,” says the Lord of armies, “so that it will leave them neither root nor branches.”
Our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). He has promised that one day, He will destroy the wicked and evil of this world, demolishing them until there is nothing left. We are often bogged down in thinking that evil is winning, but we forget that Jesus Christ has already overcome the world! Let us focus our eyes upon his promises, recognizing that an undercurrent of God’s mighty works are building upon themselves, preparing for that amazing day when death and Satan will be cast into the Lake of Fire forever. And while we wait and cry out to the Lord, let us focus our eyes on the spiritual healing that God gives to us, His covenant people.
Truth #3: The power of God that destroys evil is the same power that brings healing to His children.
The power of God that disarmed the principalities and powers on the cross is the same power that will set the evil ablaze for eternity. And that mighty power is also the very same supernatural strength that brings healing to His people, bringing light to His children.
When Jesus lived on this earth, His ministry involved much physical healing. He revived the sick, made the lame to walk, gave sight to the blind, and cured the incurable diseases. But those miracles pointed to something greater. For all who fear the Lord, a spiritual healing is received. This spiritual healing of God removes our heart of darkness and replaces it with the Light of Christ. God removes our spiritual blindness and gives us eyes to see truth. He takes away our lame feet of sinful tendencies and gives us new feet to walk in works of righteousness. He cures us from the disease of our own depravity.
God is at work in His people. Malachi 4:2 says, “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and frolic like calves from the stall.” Frolicking calves might not mean much to a 21st century believer, but the words have the connotation of being healthy and nurtured, abandoned in joy, jubilant from the victory over enemies.
Jesus is the Sun of Righteousness. He rises to vindicate those who fear His name. And His action brings spiritual healing. Dear Christian, God has gifted us with spiritual eyes to see beyond the chaos and confusion of our day. Our days may be uncertain, but our future of victory is already won. It is ready and waiting for us. Let us fix our eyes on the day when “God will wipe away every tear from (our) eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain for the former things have passed away.” (Rev. 21: 4)
God will make all things new! Let us live in thanksgiving for His perfect plan and timing.
Truth #4: A Heavenward focus brings a heart full of thankfulness.
A wise theologian once said that a heart that is grateful keeps one from being self-full. The book of Thessalonians commands us to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (I Thess. 5:16-18)
God’s will for us is to rejoice, pray, and give thanks. For the Piglet empathizers, this command is not contingent upon whether every wintery, snow-laden path is clear of Woozles. We mustn’t wait for our rejoicing until everything is risk-free and stable. We can learn to rejoice, pray, and give thanks in all circumstances.
When our bodies begin to feel the effects of age, we can rejoice that our God is Everlasting, and that one day, He will redeem our deteriorating bodies into perfect, eternal glory.
When we struggle through financial hardships, we can be thankful for the opportunity to watch God work as our Provider, the One who cares for all our needs.
When we are fearful for our physical safety, we can rejoice that the Almighty God of Hosts is strong and powerful enough to protect us, giving us the strength to go forward.
When we are crushed under the weight of grief, we can pray with expectancy for the God of Comfort to fulfill His promises by mending our broken hearts and binding up grief’s wounds.
And when we feel great unrest, we can be thankful that we know the God of peace, who brings rest for our weary souls, even in the valley of the shadow of death.
May we be the beacon of light on a hill, showing the world that those who fear the Lord have nothing else to fear. May we be like trees planted by the water, unable to wither under fear and anxiety over the world in which we live, and bearing fruit in all seasons. We can proclaim the gospel through our quiet steadfastness, knowing that our God is sovereign over the winter storms and every hostile Woozle that threatens our peace.
And one day, His light will conquer the darkness forever.
And on that day, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.