Don’t carry on, that is, in the sense of panicking over what seems to be the moral collapse of the universe, or at least of our country.
Followers of FRC know that we believe we must advance and defend religious liberty, the sanctity of life, the sacredness of marriage, the centrality of the family, and the dignity of the person strategically (we want to win) and faithfully (regardless of any political outcomes). The battles in which we are engaged are intense. Their number is increasing. And the stakes, for the future of the nation we love, are accruing at an alarming rate.
But in the midst of our efforts, we need to remember a few basic things:
(1) While being burdened by and pained for all that’s wrong and for all who are being hurt by it, whether born or unborn, we should never lose sight of the fact that Christ’s ultimate victory in time and eternity cannot be deterred. As John the apostle records in Scripture’s final chapter, “He (Jesus) Who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ And He said, ‘Write, for these words are faithful and true.’ Then He said to me, ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end’.” “It is done:” He will do what He has said, and in the framework of eternity already has won the victory.
(2) God never promised His people an easy path. Consider Paul’s words to the church in Corinth: “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh” (4:8-11). There has never been a time when parts of the Body of Christ haven’t suffered somewhere. The believing slaves of pre-Civil War American could’ve spoken to that, for example. But through our suffering from without and the war against sin within, “the life of Jesus” is “manifested in our mortal flesh.” The fragrance of a rose is most acute when the flower is crushed. We should never invite such crushing – that’s masochism, not martyrdom – but let’s not ignore the opportunities nascent repression at home and active persecution abroad give all who love God (I write that humbly; I’m in no way comparing the current dangers to the American church to those being murdered and brutalized for their faith in places like North Korea, Iraq and Nigeria; may we all pray for them with vigilance and energy, as they are daily enduring unspeakable, horrific things).
(3) In America, we have it in our power to use legal means to stand firmly against social and political wrong. Through elections, petitions, protests, legal action, public awareness campaigns, advertisements, the media and other means, we can make our arguments and work to influence public judgment and enact sound public policies. Of course, each of us must count the cost: Political and cultural engagement involves time and money, stress and aggravation, unfairness and misrepresentation, some victories and some defeats. Just remember that not to engage is to engage; you’re simply opting for passivity in the face of evil, which is acceptance thereof – a form of engagement. That’s not an option the God of justice and righteousness gives those who have come to know Him through His Son Jesus Christ.
Christian joy comes through faith, obedience, and wisdom, whether you’re working to defend an unborn child and her mother at a pregnancy care center, standing in a voting booth, working in a hostile work environment, or just mowing your lawn. Keep calm. Don’t panic. Life is a vapor, one which, for Christians, is swallowed-up in victory.