There doesn’t seem to be a day in recent years without bad news. Whether it’s Israel and Iran and threats of more war in the Middle East, or talk of economic meltdown here in the U.S. and around the world, it can feel overwhelming. On one particular day last June, when it seemed like the whole Middle East was on fire with riots and war, and Europe was facing huge economic issues, a news reporter said something like, “I feel like the whole world is falling apart, could somebody please post a picture of a puppy?”
It’s easy to understand that heart cry, isn’t it? I would like some good news too.
The Bad News
For followers of Christ, there are also the challenges to our belief system. It seems like much of what we hold dear is being questioned or ridiculed. Just look at some of the posts after a news story about homosexuality to see what is being said about Evangelical positions on marriage.
For those of us in ministry, there are the seemingly increasing counseling issues. I might just be getting more sensitive as time passes, but this year already I have been moved to tears numerous times by stories of family break up, conflict, financial needs, and sexual abuse. I’m feeling pretty challenged by all the brokenness around me.
The Good News
How should we view these days? What should our perspective be? For years I have preached this little principle. “The darker the night the brighter the light of God’s Word shines.” Isn’t this what Scripture teaches when it says things like, “your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105)? In times of darkness, truth stands out and lights the way!
I actually think our best ministry years are ahead. As culture continues to deteriorate, people will be looking for answers. Let me give you an example. My wife and I have been married for almost 31 years. In recent years, we have increasingly heard this question, “How do you do that?” If that’s happening with us now, just think of when our kids have been married fifty years! They might be the cover story of their local paper! I believe people will search for answers because their belief system will be revealed as not working. Maybe this is why people are more open to truth in times of crisis. What they believe about life isn’t working and it seems our Lord uses this to prompt some to search for answers.
Add to this that the psychological community seems to be in increasing disarray, with the former editor of the DSM IV (Al Frances) regularly criticizing the new DSM 5 and thousands of psychologists signing petitions asking the APA to reconsider the release of the DSM 5 next year. It sure does seem that the biblical counseling movement is possibly being set up to provide answers to hurting people.
Cursing the Darkness or Lighting Candles
Years ago I read a piece by the syndicated columnist Cal Thomas (a follower of Christ). What he wrote about cultural deterioration proved to be perspective changing for me. This is a paraphrase, but it was something like, “Evangelicals have a choice to make; will we curse the darkness or light candles?” I determined to be one that tried to show people the life changing light of God’s word instead of just cursing the cultural darkness.
So, let’s do what Paul urged Timothy to do in 2 Timothy 3, in one of the most depressing chapters in the New Testament. After many verses of bad news concerning false teachers and cultural deterioration he said:
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed… How from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
And then the famous verses:
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God, may be competent, equipped for every good work.
God’s Word claims to have enough to equip us to handle dark days. I believe it!
So, we probably have some really challenging and exhausting ministry years ahead. And we are going to need to trust the Lord for strength, but think of how rewarding they will be as people look for answers and lives are changed. The darker the night the brighter the light of God’s Word shines. Will you light some candles with me?
Join the Conversation
These considerations logically raise the question, “How can biblical counseling be more evangelistic?”