Being & Building Followers & Friends of Jesus
“As delegates get ready to assemble high up in the Swiss Alps, the world appears on the verge of a nervous breakdown.” (USA TODAY, January 19, 2015)
This week’s annual meeting of the World Economic Forum is drawing captains of industry and government from around the globe, to the alpine ski town of Davos, Switzerland—Europe’s highest town. Over 40 heads of state, 2,500 business leaders, cultural emissaries, and experts in many areas of human endeavor will participate in five days of workshops, listen to speeches, and network in an attempt to make the world a better place in which to live.
Their task of creating conditions to restore confidence and trust in the world’s future will not be easily achieved in light of intractable global problems. Economic uncertainty worries many. The Ebola crisis has claimed over 8,000 lives. Islamic extremists persistently threaten. Cybersecurity is a worrisome challenge. Greece’s upcoming elections are causing nervousness about the future of the Eurozone. China’s economic growth has slowed dramatically. Last year’s being the hottest on record has made climate change evident. Russia’s proxies in Ukraine continue to make the region volatile. The world is on edge.
Surveying the international situation, it feels like “everything nailed down is coming loose” (the angel Gabriel in the musical “Green Pastures”). What else could possibly go wrong? Where will the next act of terrorism occur? Is there an antidote to the poison of despair? How can we keep from going crazy when the world is falling apart?
As Jesus predicted future events, he said “You will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. Here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides. People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth. When all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!” (Matthew 24:6-7; Luke 21:25-26 NLT) When the outlook is bad, we should try the up-look.
The motto of the World Economic Forum—“Committed to improving the state of the world”—is certainly a noble endeavor. We wish them success in achieving their high goal. However, Christians are citizens of two worlds, and the one we currently live in is temporary. Our challenge as dual citizens is finding a reasonable balance between our heavenly and earthly citizenship—not becoming so heavenly-minded we’re of no earthly good, while simultaneously following the counsel of Scripture—“Let heaven fill your thoughts; don’t spend your time worrying about things down here” (Colossians 3:2 TLB).
Whatever happens in this uncertain world, those who are trusting the Lord Jesus Christ to return and solve problems the world’s experts have never been able to fix, can begin each day with a beautiful melody in their hearts—“Be still, my soul, your God does undertake to guide the future as he has the past. Your hope, your confidence, let nothing shake; All not mysterious shall be bright at last. Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know His voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.” (Katherine von Schlegel)
Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli will be singing at the forum’s opening ceremony—a beautiful beginning, whatever the outcome of the week’s meetings. It would be wonderful if he would sing a song he wrote –“I pray you'll be our eyes, And watch us where we go; And help us to be wise, In times when we don't know. Let this be our prayer, When we lose our way, Lead us to a place, Guide us with your grace
To a place where we'll be safe.”
“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you. Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.” (Isaiah 26:3-4 NLT)
Johnny R. Almond
Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity
Interim Pastor, Nomini Baptist Church; Montross, Virginia