In the turbulent sea of life, we often find ourselves confronted by epic meltdowns, like crashing waves that threaten to engulf our hearts and minds. Over the past few years, we've witnessed many forms of chaos in our world. From a man losing his temper at a baby on an airplane to the state of war in the Middle East, fear encircles us, threatening to disrupt our state of calm.
The Bible is filled with men and women who suffered from similar epic meltdowns. Peter had an epic meltdown when he began to sink while walking on water following Jesus' footsteps, and denied three times he was a disciple after Jesus was arrested (Matthew 14:29-31; Matthew 26:69-75). Elijah had an epic meltdown after defeating 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Ashram by hiding in a cave when Queen Jezebel threatened his life (1 Kings 19:1-18). Moses, too, shared, "God, kill me now if I need to keep bearing the burden of the (complaining) people," only after parting the Red Sea (Numbers 11:11-15). Each of these people had moments of extreme self-doubt where they felt like everything had spun out of control.
Peter denied Jesus.
Moses yelled at God.
Elijah felt abandoned.
For each of these men, God provided peace during the chaos. God gave them a moment of stillness and calm in the middle of their storms. In a moment of crisis, they heard the still small voice of God's presence within them.
On the other side of their meltdowns, a profound realization surfaced. All along, they were being held in the hands of God. In the same way, trust centers us for the storms that lie ahead. And once we encounter God's faithfulness, a boldness emerges, and a calm amidst the storm becomes our anchor.
Jesus stands as a beacon of light and calm amid our epic meltdowns. He addresses the contemporary issues that echo through frightening headlines news — poverty, violence, estrangement, and intolerance. Jesus confronted these same political problems without seeking political power, and established a following with a spirit markedly different from the world.
He came not to establish an external kingdom but to inscribe God's love on our hearts — for us to display mercy, kindness, humility, justice. A society, organized around serving others and prioritizing their needs, is a stark contrast to our worldly order. In this new kingdom, the first shall be last, and the last shall be first.
Jesus' response to the headline news is revolutionary: when confronting enemies, pray for them and perform acts of love. As we march through January, we'll learn about these epic meltdowns and how we can find solace in Jesus's timeless message. Then, as we enter Lent, we'll dive into Jesus' answer to the headline news and experience God’s presence amid our storms.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.' - John 3:16