“But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows.” Mark 13:7-8
The world is full of trouble and strife. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that. You’ve got the everyday, one on one, person to person trouble that all of us are familiar with and from that we progress through every imaginable horror till we get to full blown international engagements. Some would say that in the face of all this trouble Jesus was a bit crazy to say, “do not be troubled.”
But Jesus wasn’t telling his disciples to be untroubled by the strife in the world. Rather, he was telling them to not become anxious that these troubles were heralding the fulfillment of apocalyptic prophecy. Troubles and trials of the type Jesus was talking about are going to be commonly present in this sinful world as long as this sinful world exists. They’re more reminders of where we are than they’re prophetic markers of when we are.
Now to another important question. Should Christians be troubled by the trouble and strife going on in the world?
I believe that even a comparatively casual study of scripture tells us that God would have us to be deeply troubled by what goes on in the world. Not that he would have us live in fear. Christians should possess such a trust in the protecting, providing hand of God that they would have a profound sense of peace as they face this chaotic world. However, the state of pain and suffering in this world should drive anyone who names themselves with the name of Christ to their knees seeking for God’s will in what they should do. And then they should be driven into the streets to actually do something to make right the wrong and bring healing to wounds.
Not one of us should be looking around asking what we should be doing. Disaster, crime, disfunction and injustice are everywhere. Let’s do what we can to be agents to, where possible, change hearts and minds, and when strife leaves it’s painful mark, to comfort and mend the hearts, bodies, and communities that have been broken.