Monday, February 7, 2011

The 21st Century: The Age of Fear?

As my friend pointed out to me, we are already a decade into the 21st century.  My, how the time has flown!  I sometimes catch my mind thinking we're just barely into the 2000's, not quite "up to speed" with being in the 2010's.  As we babyboomers thought back on the 20th, we pondered the question of what that century should be called.  "The Age of Science?"  "The Age of Innovation?"  "The Age of War?"  "The Age of Medicine?"  So many labels could easily and accurately be applied to the 1900's, because so many amazing ... and horrifying ... things occurred.

But, what would one nickname this current century?  My first thought was "The Age of IT" or "Social networking."  But, I was told that many have knighted it "The Age of Fear."  The monicker brought to mind so many discussions over the past decade: how parents are hesitant to let their children play outside, instead choosing to arrange "play dates."  The 9/11 attacks still claim a heavy burden on Americans' hearts ... and the hearts of those since dragged into its wake.  Headlines besiege our minds and spirits with a daily onslaught of horrendous news: children murdered, teachers molesting kids, epidemics, asteroids or volcanoes that could destroy our planet, solar radiation, cancer, terrorism, cybercrime, life spinning at an ever increasing speed, obsession about the pitiful lives of Hollywood elite, escalating reports on crime although FBI statistics prove the trend is the other direction, economic woes ('the worst recession' since the Great Depression ... bunk!), etc., etc., etc. 

It all makes you want to hide in a foxhole somedays to ride out the storm.

Lord, teach us to pray ... especially in times such as these.  Help us to focus on whom and what truly matters in life.  And help us pray. 

I am reminded of the story of Jesus healing Jairus' daughter.  This synagogue leader -- a man of God -- had been struck with tragedy with the death of his daughter.  Tragedy comes to all.  No one is spared.  But, in Luke 8:50 we read: Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, "Don't be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed."

We, too, must believe Jesus' promise of always being with us ... even unto the end of the Age (Matthew 28:20).  He will come to us ... and heal us.  Like Jairus' daughter, we are not dead but sleeping.  He will take us by the hand and say "My child, get up!"  

We must take His hand everyday ... and get up.

Let us love.  Let us pray.  Let us live.  Let us serve. 
 40And as Jesus returned, the people welcomed Him, for they had all been waiting for Him.
   41And there came a man named Jairus, and he was an official of the synagogue; and he fell at Jesus' feet, and began to implore Him to come to his house;
   42for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, and she was dying. But as He went, the crowds were pressing against Him.
   43And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone,
   44came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped.
   45And Jesus said, "Who is the one who touched Me?" And while they were all denying it, Peter said, "Master, the people are crowding and pressing in on You."
   46But Jesus said, "Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me."
   47When the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed.
   48And He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace."
   49While He was still speaking, someone came from the house of  the synagogue official, saying, "Your daughter has died; do not trouble the Teacher anymore."
   50But when Jesus heard this, He answered him, " Do not be afraid any longer; only believe, and she will be made well."
   51When He came to the house, He did not allow anyone to enter with Him, except Peter and John and James, and the girl's father and mother.
   52Now they were all weeping and lamenting for her; but He said, "Stop weeping, for she has not died, but is asleep."
   53And they began laughing at Him, knowing that she had died.
   54He, however, took her by the hand and called, saying, "Child, arise!"
   55And her spirit returned, and she got up immediately; and He gave orders for something to be given her to eat.
   56Her parents were amazed; but He instructed them to tell no one what had happened.

[Luke 8:40-56, NASB]