When I was a boy, many times I went to bed afraid. I didn’t like loud crashes of thunder during summer storms. I still don’t like snakes. But, I was also afraid of the scary situations in the world.
I grew up at the end of the Vietnam War. Night after night on T.V. there would be footage of American soldiers firing their weapons and helicopters flying overhead. I would overhear conversations of those who had to go and fight and some that never came home.
The Cold War was also heating up in those years. The Soviet Union was competing with the United States at building huge bombs that could fly across the oceans in missiles to destroy targets all over each other’s worlds. But there was also talk of launching nuclear warheads from submarines just off of the coast, attacking without any warning.
That might not seem so scary if you grew up near Atlanta, Georgia, but I grew up by Norfolk, Virginia. Norfolk has the largest navy base in the world, plus about 25 other major military installations. Some said that Russia wanted to destroy Norfolk even more than they wanted to destroy Washington D.C.. Yikes!
Some nights I would think about those things and get myself scared.
There are a lot more channels on T.V. today than when I was a boy, so maybe the news is not on in your house as much as it was in mine growing up. But if you do watch today’s news, you know that there are some pretty scary things going on in our world too. The United States is still fighting terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Islamic State (ISIS) posts videos of themselves killing lines of people just because they say they are Christians. They declare that they wish that they could be doing more attacks within the United States. The Russian government seems to be up to some of its aggressive bullying again.
Some people are struggling with their jobs, and many are afraid of the economic future of our country. Our courts are changing our morals into immorals. In some states, a person can be legally punished just for living out Christian convictions. This may be the case in Georgia before many days pass.
With all of these scary situations in the world, how can a person be brave when they put their head on their pillow at night? How can we be happy and content when we walk through dangerous minefields all around us?
The cure for fear is faith. Instead of focusing on the scary situations of the world, we must think about God. God is bigger than Russia. God is bigger than the Islamic State. He is bigger than the economy. And even when our government makes laws different than the Bible, God is much bigger than that too.
God can do reverses.
Just like the reverse gear in a car makes the big, heavy, fast car or truck go the opposite direction, God can reverse powerful people. God can even make entire nations reverse. He has done it many times in the past and he can do it again. He is not a little god. He is huge. He is big enough to reverse the scary things of this world.
What stories in the Bible remind us about God’s reverse power? There are too many to think about in this article. But I can remind you of one or two, just to get your mind in gear.
Remember Joseph? His story is found in Genesis 37-50. His father liked him more than his eleven other brothers. He gave him the colorful coat. His jealous brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt. After Joseph faithfully worked hard and trusted God, he was falsely accused and thrown into jail. Then he was forgotten about.
Do you remember how long it was between when Joseph was enslaved and when he got out of jail? Thirteen years. That is a lot of bad days, months, and years.
But then God did a reverse.
God helped Joseph interpret Pharaoh’s dreams. Joseph was taken out of prison and made the second ruler over all of Egypt. Joseph saved Egypt and even his family from the seven years of famine. Everything turned from bad to good.
When talking to his brothers at the end of the story, Joseph said, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” (Gen 50:20).
Remember Moses? His story is found in Exodus 3-15. Joseph’s family had lots of babies in Egypt. They had so many children that Israel became a nation within a nation. Long after Joseph died a new Pharaoh decided the solution to the Israel problem was to enslave them. Israel had to do hot, hard work for the pagan Egyptians with no hope of escape ever.
But God did a reverse.
God called Moses to lead Israel to freedom. When the powerful, pagan king refused to let God’s people go, God attacked the ten pagan gods of Egypt with ten plagues. God rescued Israel through the Red Sea and wiped out the entire Egyptian army when they tried to follow Israel through the Red Sea.
This great and powerful God is still the same today. Instead of fixating on the scary situations of the world, especially the ones that may or may not even become reality, think about God. His purposes will always stand. When an evil ruler rules one thing, God can overrule it. When an evil group attacks, God can destroy them all without even using human means. He has done so many times in the past and he can still change a nation in one day.
God uses sin and suffering in ways we don’t always understand. Sometimes he allows evil in the world for a time to make his good purposes shine even brighter when they come to fruition. The greatest proof of that truth is the cross. God allowed the Jews and Romans to kill his innocent Son, so that God could offer eternal life to everyone who trusts in Christ. Plus, then God did the greatest reverse by raising Jesus from the dead and exalting him to God’s right hand. Such a great God is worthy of our total trust.
By John Crotts