It’s easy to be anxious these days; just take a look at the current political climate. It’s easy to feel a sense of frustration about all the things we can’t control — and there are a lot of people who want us to stay frustrated and anxious right now.
After all, it’s better for media companies if we keep watching, reading, and discussing the news from a place of fear. Anxiety drives media profits. They use anxiety to capture our attention and energy. And when complex problems with unclear solutions arise, media companies love to pit people against each other instead of presenting as many perspectives as they can.
All this fear and resentment takes us away from the things we should really be investing in: Our faith, our families, and the problems in our communities we could help solve.
As Christians, we have a responsibility to serve our communities and point them toward Christ with our conduct. But in 2022, it’s hard to deny that our world is full of adversity — we’re two years into a pandemic, countless countries are facing humanitarian crises, and many of our nation's leaders support the killing of innocent children — just to name a few. These are frustrating and polarizing issues.
And yet, our frustration can’t be an excuse to withdraw from these critical conversations. The world needs Christ’s guidance and truth, and His followers have an obligation to share them. But how do we persevere?
Let’s remember that when the polarizing issues of today begin to overwhelm us, we don’t need to run away from them. Instead, we can instead run toward the ultimate source of peace. As Christians, we have an invitation to set aside our worries and walk with Christ every day, no matter how frightening or noisy the world gets.
We can and must choose to center the Lord in our lives, not politics, because the work of men cannot save us. The Bible directly instructs us to do so. Only then can we effectively serve and influence the world around us while remaining rooted in peace.
“Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save,” the Bible tells us. “When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God” (Psalm 146 3-5, NIV).
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be politically active or informed, of course. But politics can trap us in a life of anger, anxiety, and distraction if we let it usurp Christ’s place in our hearts and lives. The same Psalm that warns us not to trust “in human beings, who cannot save” tells us that those who hope in the Lord are “blessed.”
It also reminds us that “He is the Maker of Heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them — He remains faithful forever.”
How could we possibly be anxious when the Maker of Heaven and earth is on our side, faithful to us forever? How could we possibly be afraid if our help and hope are the Lord our God?
But sometimes it doesn’t seem that simple to us. The worries persist, or we forget that God is with us. God has also offered himself as our confidante and respite when we struggle. We only need to pray.
“Rejoice in the Lord always,” Paul told the Philippians. “I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near” (Philippians 4 4-7, NIV).
The Lord is near, always, even when we cannot feel Him there. He is near even when we turn from Him, or become afraid or angry. He is near when our world looks upside down and the problems seem unsolvable. And Paul continues, telling them — and us — to turn to God and seek peace through Him, in all things.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
This is an indispensable message for Christians in today’s political climate.
It can be easy to feel anxious. Crime rates are going up, especially murders. Inflation is surging. Political disunity continues to grow. Midterm elections that will determine the balance of America’s political power loom on the horizon.
But let me repeat Paul’s message because it’s worth emphasizing: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Offer everything to God. He will guide you faithfully. Our Creator is on our side, and nothing should distract us from the peace He offers us in hardship.
Timothy Head is the executive director of the Faith and Freedom Coalition.