I’ve been reading a book about the relationship between John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. (Yes, I’m that kind of nerd.)
A large portion of the book is devoted to how the people around the two of them responded immediately after the assassin’s bullet took the life of Kennedy. What is intriguing to me is that, in spite of the differences of opinion, the geographical makeup of both Kennedy and his people, and Johnson and his people, the seemingly far sides of the spectrum that both represented, when the news came that Kennedy was gone, they rallied and came together, knowing that there was no difference greater than the need to maintain the one thing that they held them together.
This sense of unity and support for each other kept our country alive in the middle of perhaps the greatest American tragedy of the 20th century.
What does the church do when it gets a bit of bad news? Should it run and hide? Does it lie down in its own bed of sorrow and self-pity that renders itself useless when bad news hits? Should we shake an angry fist at God and let our hearts harden as a result?
A typical response to a bit of bad news is fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of the future, fear of what will happen next. Sometimes, fear becomes so paralyzing that it slowly becomes a crippling idol, and overtakes our faith that God can and will intervene.
The Bible says that there is a remedy for fear that doesn’t just alleviate it, but casts it out. I John 4:17 says that “perfect love casts out fear.”
So there it is…a church that walks in the kind of love that Paul calls patient, kind, rejoicing in truth, bearing, believing and hoping all things. This kind of love is the kind that will force fear that accompanies a bit of bad news being driven out with the kind of force that can only come from the power of God.
The Vine has gotten a bit of bad news. How do we respond? How do we rally together around Derek and his family? Nothing else is as important in a time like this as the need to unite together for the one thing that draws us all together in the first place – the pursuit of that perfect love.
Let us be filled with that perfect love, driving out fear, standing up strong in the power of God through His Holy Spirit, and pray with the confidence and assurance that a humble and assertive body of Christ is intended to do. Stand with each other in prayer for all healing and good reports. Whom shall WE fear?? We are the branches…HE is the VINE!
– Billy B.