Some stories in today’s news animate us in inverse proportion to the degree they affect us directly.
Democratic House managers, led by Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), opened the presentation of their case for impeachment yesterday. They are accusing President Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
For many Americans, the Senate trial frustrates us in large part because we can do so little about the cultural rancor it illustrates. It is our partisan polarization writ large, with the two sides in conflict while one hundred senators sit passively and the nation watches from afar.
If the trial ends as expected, neither side will get what it wants. The president’s supporters will be angry at what they perceive to be an unjust prosecution, while his opponents will be angry at what they perceive to be an unjust outcome. Each will blame the other. And no one seems to know what to do to change the partisan impasse in which the country finds itself.
“An epidemiologist’s nightmare”
Other stories in the news animate us in direct proportion to the way they affect us directly.
The death toll from the China coronavirus is now at seventeen. After emerging in a seafood and livestock market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the virus has now spread across China and into the US.
Last night, Chinese authorities began work to quarantine Wuhan, sealing off its highways, public transportation, airport, train station, and long-haul bus hubs. The city is home to eleven million people. It would be the largest city in America (New York City’s population is estimated at 8.3 million).
In addition to the local threat, the Lunar New Year holiday in China is bringing hundreds of millions of travelers across the country and the world. According to the New York Times, this mass migration is “an epidemiologist’s nightmare.”
The virus is frightening because it holds the potential to affect us all. So far, no drugs have been shown effective in treating coronavirus infections in humans. Scientists are working on a vaccine, but it could take more than a year for one to become available.
Doctors advise frequent handwashing, staying clear of people with respiratory illnesses, and avoiding areas infected by the virus.
A couple who chose life
The best way to change the world is to change what we can.
Consider abortion, our subject yesterday. Faced with intractable pro-abortion activists and a culture that is moving further from biblical morality each day, it seems impossible to make a difference.
But every child we help is an eternal soul worth all we can do and more.
I remember a young couple I met in my last pastorate. They were dating when she became pregnant. Both had their lives ahead of them and knew their families would be traumatized by her pregnancy. Abortion seemed the only answer.
We spent time together in prayer and Bible study. They decided to give their child life and eventually married. Their girl is high-school age today. I will always be grateful to them for allowing me to play a role in their decision.
When we serve others, we serve ourselves as well. A scientific study of first-semester college students examined the relationship between goals they identified as “compassionate” and those that focused on the student’s “self-image.” They found that students who sought to fulfill compassionate goals experienced “decreased distress” compared to those who focused on themselves. By contrast, those who focused more on their self-image experienced “chronic distress.”
How God changes the world
God changes the world one person at a time.
An example is God’s promise to Abraham: “I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice” (Genesis 22:17-18).
When we are obedient to God’s call, we can know that he will use us in ways we cannot imagine or predict. This is because his purpose is universal: “All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you” (Psalm 22:27).
As a result, we can be sure that God is always at work to bring the world to himself. And we can know that he is always using us to fulfill this global purpose.
The next time you wonder if God can and will employ your gifts, abilities, and service for eternal purposes, remember that such use is his sovereign intention for your life. In fact, he will make your service significant in ways you cannot imagine today.
In New Life in Christ, author Sally Rackets says it this way: “Jesus gave his life for us so he could give his life to us in order to live his life through us.”
Have you invited your Lord to live his life through you today?
NOTE: Here’s an excerpt from our just-released Volume 4 of Biblical Insight to Tough Questions, from the chapter titled “When life gets hard, where can I turn?”
“Because we are fallen people living in a fallen world alongside other just-as-fallen people, life can be challenging. Because our ‘adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour,’ the ways in which life can be hard are varied and numerous (1 Peter 5:8). And because we can choose our way over God’s, we may reap the consequences of our actions.
“That’s not to say that all of life is painful—but when you’re the one experiencing the pain, it may certainly feel all-encompassing and seemingly never-ending. In those moments, to whom can you turn?
“You know the answer: his name is Jesus.
“But do you know why he’s the answer?”I pray you’ll be blessed by Vol. 4. Please request your copy today.
Publication date: January 23, 2020
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla/Staff
For more from the Denison Forum, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
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