God-sized Problems in the World Today
It seems as though the world is experiencing more and more distress which has produced deeper and deeper points and places of humanitarian crisis. Interestingly, it also seems these current crises are caused more by man than by nature at the moment. That may be and given history will only be a short-lived scenario. So, these difficult and dangerous situations around the world, be they in Iraq, Israel, West Africa or the Ukraine present a question to and for the Church, God's redeemed, those who claim to follow Christ—what are we going to do? This is a question that demands an answer corporately and individually.
Before we can begin to answer this question, we need to make sure we are prepared to do so. Preparation is important in many if not most things in this life. There is always a better result when we prepare, whether it is studying for a test, a big presentation, a wedding, a vacation or in this case responding as Christ's people.
Peter stated it this way, "Therefore, prepare your minds for action: be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed" (1 Peter 1:13). It is good for us to prepare our minds by making sure our hope is fully based on the grace of God given to us that we receive by faith. When we understand what God has done for us, it prepares us for action to become something—holy vessels to be used by God in this world for His glory (see 1 Peter 1:15). We are called to be obedient to God's Word and therefore to be holy because that is who God is and He desires the same for His people.
So, once we have prepared our mind and have the right perspective, Peter goes on to say what we are to do or in other words how we are to act, "Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart" (1 Peter 1:22).
We are to love one another deeply, from the heart. This is our call, our charge, our mandate. Why? Because we have been purchased by God's love and have been given a new nature based upon His graciousness to us. "For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God" (1 Peter 1:23). As Christ's people it is who we now are, not who we used to be!
In sum, what are we to do in light of the desperate, difficult and dangerous situations in the world? We are to deeply love, which means we respond with grace based upon a conviction given we have prepared ourselves to do so as Peter instructed. God's glory is best seen today when grace-filled people respond to God-sized problems in this world. We need to act. To this, there is no debate but we must first prepare, then respond in love because that is our new nature. We do so not for our benefit, but for God's glory and the good of others. While each scenario is assuredly different there are distinct things we can do corporately and individually.
So what are things we can do related to the crises in the world so many miles away? We need to learn more about what is going on in these places so we can pray specifically for the needs in those places. We also need to look for tangible ways to help those that are actively engaged. Who of God's people are there and what are they doing—what are their needs? Our assistance needs to be in ways that are helpful to them, not what we think will be helpful to them. We also need to remember that when we are compelled to action from a place of conviction, we will not be swayed or discouraged by hurdles and roadblocks. We are to persevere. If you don't have a clear way to engage in helping those who are directly involved in addressing these current global issues—keep praying, keep looking, keep talking and you will find something or somebody specific that you can engage that enables you, and at the end of the day, us, to love deeply. Remember that God-sized problems in the world are best answered today by grace-filled people.