So, here we go. Principles to deliver us from the fear and anger that characterize too many of us.
Number 1: Providence. There is a God in heaven, who directs in the affairs of people and nations.
The lunatics are in fact not running the asylum. All that stuff that’s got you twisted into knots? Well, the stuff that’s actually true—we’ll get back to that idea later—has come to pass through divine intention. That’s just a fancy way of saying that God’s done it.
That’s true of the stuff we like—God sends sunshine, and rain, and crops, and seasons (Psa 104)—but it’s true of the stuff we don’t like as well. God has his way in the whirlwind and the storm, the prophet tells us (Nahum 1.3).
Whirlwinds are nothing to mess with. In 1998 a tornado wiped out Spencer, SD. A week later I was there. The whole town was just gone. The water tank on top of the hill? Gone. The gas station? Gone, though the concrete pads for the pumps were still there. The corn silos? Gone. The telephone poles? Twisted off 2 feet above the ground. No buildings, except for 1 house that was inexplicably spared. And the whole thing lasted just 6 minutes.
At 8.30 pm there was a town, and homes, and businesses, and normal life. By 8.45 it was all gone.
Who did that? The mayor? The governor? The devil?
Not according to Nahum.
God did it. For reasons of his own, which we may or may not ever understand.
But you know what? There’s still a Spencer, SD. By the grace of God, and through the hard work of a lot of remarkable people, life goes on at Karen’s Beauty Shop and Trinity Lutheran Church and the baseball field.
It’s not likely that anything worse than that has happened to you; if it has, I haven’t seen you post about it on Facebook.
And if it has, then take courage in this: God is working his plan, for you and for everybody else.
And here’s the thing. God isn’t impersonal, or arbitrary, or unfeeling in all of this. He doesn’t throw the switch on the train track just to see what will happen, or just to shake things up for some warped form of amusement.
God cares. He loves—personally, individually, intimately, passionately. And with a wisdom you and I could never fathom, he conducts the symphony of your life for your greatest spiritual benefit and for his greatest glory. He knows what he’s doing, and he acts out of wisely directed love—in a way no one else you have ever known ever could.
This God—the creator of heaven and earth; the keeper of covenant promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the one watching over Israel, who neither slumbers nor sleeps; the lover of our very souls—this God is directing your steps, and mine, and everyone else’s to accomplish his perfect, delightful plan.
No, the lunatics are not running the asylum. God gave us Richard Nixon, and Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan, and Barack Obama. And most recently he has given us Donald Trump. Love them or hate them, they are all—all—gifts from a wise and loving God, perfectly prepared and perfectly directed for the nation that elected them. That doesn’t mean they’re good, or wise, or effective. But it does mean that he is.
So why live in desperation, or rage, or panic, or frustration? Is there not a God in heaven? Do you not trust him? Does he not give peace?
Maybe, if you have no peace, you have no basis for it. Peace comes not from the political process, or health, or leisure, or physical resources. Peace, peace in your soul, comes from above, not from outside. Peace comes from the Prince of Peace (Isa 9.6), by whom we have peace with God (Rom 5.1), and through whom we find peace even with our enemies (Eph 3).
Think on these things. Breathe them into your reading, and listening, and surfing. And see if maybe your perspective, and thus your reactions, come to reflect peace more than panic.