BAD NEWS – GOOD NEWS…
On January 1, 2020, we had great hope for the New Year. Now we hear of one problem after another: Covid-19, unemployment, racial tension, political upheaval, foreign relations issues (China, etc.), the “cancel culture” movement, strong criticism of the police and more. The bad news may not end soon. In fact, the second half of 2020 could be more difficult than the first half. Additionally, we have our own family health financial, and emotional issues. How are we as Christians to respond to all this? Turn to God’s Word.
Isaiah wrote in a time of bad news followed by more bad news. Israel was about to be attacked and destroyed by their enemies. He was informed his homeland would be conquered, culture dispersed, temple destroyed, economy ruined, thousands of people killed and the survivors taken away into slavery. How did he respond? “My body is racked with pain, pangs seize me, like those of a woman in labor. I am staggered by what I hear, I am bewildered by what I see” (Isaiah 21:3). He was distraught beyond comprehension. What can we learn from his response to bad news?
- DON’T PRETEND. Isaiah didn’t minimize his pain, hide it or deny it. He let his grief and fear out. He was honest about how he felt. He didn’t pretend all was OK and he wasn’t upset. But he let it out to God, not to everyone around him. He told God how hard this news was on him. He expressed his agony. He confessed how hard it was to see or hear God in the midst of all the suffering. We can do the same.
- STAY FAITHFUL. Isaiah feels hopeless (Isaiah 21:4-5) but God told him to stay faithful to his work (Isaiah 21:6). Despite years of faithful preaching to Israel, there was no repentance and now judgment loomed ever closer. God was pleased with Isaiah’s faithful service despite their disobedience (Isaiah 49:3). Isaiah was discouraged and felt all he did was worthless (Isaiah 49:4a), but he still submitted to God’s sovereign plan and left everything in His hands (Isaiah 49:4b).
The lesson for us is to stay faithful and continue to serve Him no matter what the circumstances look like around us. Stay consistent in your prayer life, read the Bible daily, connect with other believers, spend time in praise and worship and listen regularly to good teaching. This is essential in tough times.
- REMEMBER GOD’S PROMISES. Isaiah was able to serve despite painful and discouraging conditions because he knew God’s Word and remembered God’s promises. Although God’s news to Isaiah was bad in the present, God promised a blessed future. He promises the same for us today. Remembering and focusing on God’s promises is key to handling the bad news that keeps coming. Read and meditate on some of God’s promises to Isaiah:
Isaiah 26:3 The LORD will keep you in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in Him.
Isaiah 40:8 The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.
Isaiah 40:29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Isaiah 40:31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 43:2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
Isaiah 54:17 “No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord.
Which promises speak to your current situation? Write them down and carry them with you today.