Godly Triumph in the Midst of Anxiety
Marti Wibbels, MS, LMHC
Our guest writer today is Steven Madonna, Pastor to Children and Families, at Family Church West in West Palm Beach, Florida. His life, family, ministry and work exhibit the ideas [and joy] he shares in today’s blog.
"When I first came to faith in Christ, I was attending a small Christian school in West Palm Beach, Florida. During this time the Lord entrusted me into the care of godly men and women who were faithful to disciple me, spend time with me, and graciously respond to my incessant stream of questions about the Bible and practical Christian living. However, in those early conversations I was taught to understand that, although no one knew the day nor hour of Christ’s return, which is true, we were to expect that it was coming very soon.
The world was quickly spiraling downward and all a Christian could do was focus on evangelism and personal holiness while the world’s response to the church and the love of Christ grew colder. Don’t read me wrong, evangelism and holiness are deeply important, but what was I evangelizing people to and what was I preparing myself in holiness for? Was it to advance God’s rule and reign through love and peace in this world, or disengage in fear from it? I didn’t realize it then, but this outlook, although it involved the love of Christ, was unfortunately separatist and steeped in pessimism and anxiety.
My spiritual life became infatuated with the end times; what disease was going on in the world, what natural disaster was occurring, what current politician seemed to be fulfilling the prophecy about the man of lawlessness, also known by many as the antichrist. My life became pervaded by images of global catastrophe and chaos, and even worse, I had begun to believe that as a Christian impacting any cultural institution or system was utterly hopeless. I even thought to disciple young Christians to advance the kingdom of God into those cultural areas of darkness was ultimately futile. The church was called to faithfully preach the gospel but not expect that same gospel to significantly change the surrounding world. In other words, don’t expect revival, and don’t expect reformation. Just sit and wait until Christ returns to fix anything you want to see fixed. This wrongly assumed that he somehow wasn’t beginning to fix things now. I was also sadly taught that this world belongs to Satan and the enemies of Christ. Jesus was reigning in my heart, but his influence didn’t really reach beyond that into the wider world, yet.
I began experiencing a disconnect from what I was reading in some of the clearer passages of Scripture about Christ’s victory and triumph with the less clear passages about the end times that were difficult to interpret. When I read passages like Psalm 110:1-3, which is quoted frequently in the New Testament by Jesus and many others, it seemed that Christ was in total control and all the enemies of Jesus and the weapons they used to come against Christ and his anointed had already been disarmed. This wasn’t something that is yet to be fulfilled in our time it was happening now.
The Apostle Paul quotes Psalm 110:1-3 in 1 Corinthians 15:25. Here he speaks of Christ’s reign and the systematic defeat of his enemies as a present reality. The passage literally says that the enemies of Christ are being made his footstool. It is this and many other passages about victory and triumph that tell us at the Resurrection of Christ something happened: death was defeated, evil was subdued, anxiety, fear, and hatred, all became powerless. This world doesn’t belong to the enemy it belongs to Christ and his anointed.
In today’s current “Corona Madness,” a younger me would be spinning anxiously with end time conspiracies, afraid of what was to happen next, worried about what would happen with my family, scared to death of being infected. If you are feeling this way, I encourage you and your family to cling to the promises of Christ, cling to the wonderful truth provided in God’s word and surround yourself with the simple truth that the Kingdom of God isn’t going anywhere, Jesus said it arrived with his coming (Luke 17:20-21).
His kingdom is advancing, He is on his throne, ruling and reigning, and He is orchestrating all things for the good of those who love him (Rom. 8:28). We worship the one true and mighty God. He is a loving father and sovereign king, therefore take refuge in him today. "
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46: 1