Charge, you horses and chariots;
attack, you mighty warriors of Egypt!
Come, all you allies from Ethiopia, Libya, and Lydiac
who are skilled with the shield and bow!
For this is the day of the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
a day of vengeance on his enemies. (Jer 46:9-10)
I am taking a foreign affairs class, and we are studying about how some of these very countries figure large on the world stage. Egypt recently went through a revolution, and although it has democratically elected a leader, there is still much turmoil. Libya had a regime change a couple of years ago that many nations in the world played a part of, because of the tyranny of Gaddafi.
It is hard not to be uneasy when considering these countries, and others of the Middle East region. There is so much infighting going on over there. The people in power are corrupt, and they are attacked by violent groups who think they need better representation. It is hard to have hope for the region, or for mankind. I worry over where the world is headed, over what will happen if radical Islam produces an increasing number of terrorist acts and attracts more followers across the globe.
In my class, we spend a long time discussing the world’s situation and all the problems, but we don’t have any solutions. I don’t like to be hopeless. I don’t like talking about everything that is wrong without identifying some plan for something that might work to fix a situation.
But do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant;
do not be dismayed, Israel.
For I will bring you home again from distant lands,
and your children will return from their exile.
Israel will return to a life of peace and quiet,
and no one will terrorize them. (Jer 46)
God has the power. He will ultimately depose those who are evil. God has the solution. And although it doesn’t say it directly in the passage above, the solution is changing people from the inside out, one heart at a time.
Soon afterward Jesus began a tour of the nearby towns and villages, preaching and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom of God. He took his twelve disciples with him, along with some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. Among them were Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons; Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s business manager; Susanna; and many others who were contributing from their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples. (Luke 8:1-3)
This is one of my favorite passages from Luke. It shows how pivotal women were in Jesus’ ministry. And what I like about these women in the context of this blog is how grateful they were for their lives being changed. They were possessed by evil spirits and demons. They had diseases. They were those who were wicked and hopeless. But no matter how hopeless they seemed, Jesus was still able to transform them. They don’t just take this transformation for granted, they follow Jesus and give their own money to support him in heartfelt gratitude for what he has done.
People can change. And thus the world can change. Ken taught a class on the Spirit last night, and one of his main points was how the Spirit empowers you to change in ways you could never accomplish by yourself. We need to do things to be filled with the Spirit, so the Spirit can empower us. We need to pray and listen. We need to sing. We need to meditate on the Word. We need to have intimacy with Jesus.
I have felt powerless at times lately about my moodiness. I have felt powerless regarding others who aren’t making the character changes they need to. I have felt powerless when faced with the many problems of the world, and the intransigence of the systems to allow change.
But with the Spirit, I don’t need to feel powerless. Nothing is hopeless. A better, brighter world is coming, one heart at a time. Each new soul is a city set on a hill, a seed that grows into a tree with branches that nourish life. Each good choice sets off a ripple effect of positivity. Let me walk this day and see the little things — the act of caring, the choice of good over bad, the extra effort, the step of faith — that are the real agents of change. The Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, will prevail.