Daily Devotional February 2nd
“A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing, but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness. The LORD is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good.” (Proverbs 15:1-3)
If you’ve paying any attention at all to global news, it would be tempting to conclude that the world has lost its collective mind. The news of the military coupe that took place yesterday in Myanmar is becoming far too unsurprising. In one short month the amount of global unrest has been breathtaking: the storming of the US Capitol; anti-government protests in Russia that have resulted in 5,000 imprisoned; violent scenes in many European countries; growing numbers of anti-mask, anti-vaccine and anti-curfew demonstrations worldwide; various hostile nations flexing their military muscles; vaccination sites shuttered because of threats. Humanity appears to be on the verge of losing all ability to reason as we propel ourselves on a self-destructive trajectory, propelled ever forward by our fear and anxiety. What is it going to take to stop this runaway train of blind reactions and growing distrust and hatred?
It may appear like a helpless situation, but truth be told, the current protests, violence and powerplays by various individuals and groups are nothing new in the history of the world. True, we have not seen anything quite like it in our lifetimes, but a quick walk back through time demonstrates our natural responses to fear and anxiety—fight and/or flight. While some of our global population are in the process of trying to escape unrest, equal numbers appear hellbent on creating it. So, what’s the answer?
I believe prayer and turning to God for answers is the place we must begin. But what should we pray for? May I suggest that in the midst of our current turmoil and confusion, one of the things we desperately need are voices of reason. There is a story in the New Testament of a silversmith named Demetrius who made his living through the manufacturing of idols of the goddess Artemis in the city of Ephesus (Acts 19). When Paul arrived and started making a number of converts to the Way (the first name by which Christians were known), Demetrius felt his livelihood threatened. He gathered others in the industry to express his concerns, slander these new beliefs being espoused by Paul and stir them up to action. He was so successful in stirring the pot, that Luke reports ‘their anger boiled…and the whole city was thrown into confusion.’ Everyone rushed to the amphitheater, many not understanding even why they were there, they just knew they were under threat. At one point, the scene includes an entire two-hour timeframe of people simply chanting, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians.” Can’t you just picture it? Sounds a bit like scenes from 2021 doesn’t it?
But just as one individual, spurred on by his own fear and ulterior motives was able to produce this seething, confused mob that jeopardized the peace of a whole city, a single voice of reason was all it took to disperse these same irrational protestors who had jumped on the bandwagon. The unnamed mayor of Ephesus, a man recognized as holding a position of influence, introduces some common sense. He admonishes the crowd and reminds them that if Demetrius and the others have a valid case there are proper channels and protocol to follow. He also reminds them of the very real Roman displeasure that this rioting will bring. His voice of reason prevails and the hotheads are dispersed.
Today, as never before, I would encourage all believers to please pray for more voices of reason, individuals capable of injecting calm in the midst of our global turmoil. Pray to be used as an instrument of peace and to resist the urge to blindly jump on any number of the available bandwagons that just seem to keep rolling unchecked ever downward on the path of destruction. Violence is never a solution for fear and anxiety. And finally remember the words of the proverb, “The LORD is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good.” God is not blind to what is going on and someday we will all be called to give an account for how we chose to respond. Let’s do so wisely!
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!