Stop the World, I Want to Get Off !

Stop the World, I Want to Get Off !

Have you ever felt this way? All of us, from time to time, have thought “if only things could slow down, I could catch my breath.” Or, we have been disheartened over all the events taking place in the world and we wish we could escape it.

The following post is making the rounds on Facebook. It expresses this emotion.

“I can’t keep up. I just can’t. I'm stressed. I’m exhausted trying to figure out what we’re all supposed to do, believe, and be outraged by next.

Two months ago, First Responders (i.e. police) were all the rage. In fact, they were heroes. We gave them free coffee, meals, and cheers as they drove by. Today we hate them and want them defunded because they can’t be trusted.

Nurses and Doctors are still cool for now. They too are heroes, unless of course they truly believe all lives matter. Then they’re filled with hate and are part of problem like so many others.

Just 45 days ago protests at state capitols over lockdowns were considered criminal, selfish, and a murderous activity. Today social justice protests are gloriously critical and celebrated. All of the obvious criminal and murderous activities are simply ignored. If you protest about lockdowns for freedom, you are selfish and you will spread a virus. If you protest, loot, and riot for social justice, you are a warrior and the virus is ineffective.

Trust the experts. No, not those experts. Don’t wear masks ... wear masks, but only good masks. Wait, don’t wear masks. No, wear anything as a mask. Never mind on the masks. I’m not sure, but if you don’t wear a mask, you hate people because you could be an asymptomatic spreader. Wait. That's not possible anymore. Or, is it?

For 3 months, NOTHING was more important than social distance. In fact, we gave up all of our liberties for it. We canceled schools, church, medical and dental procedures, yet we allowed the murder of babies. We canceled activities, closed businesses, eliminated every spring rite of passage from prom to graduation, denied people funerals, even at Arlington, and we wrecked the economy for it. Then came social justice, and social distance was no more. Thousands of people at seven memorials for someone they never even met. It's a matter of "respect". But only 100 or less people can assemble for someone you loved.

I’m really confused now. Look at the data, NO, not that data. Do the math. No, you can’t do the math like that. Only the experts can understand the data and math. What do you mean other cities/states/governors are interpreting the data differently? Pools are safe in Indiana, but not in Michigan? Playgrounds are safe in your town but not in mine? Amusement parks are safe in Florida but not in Ohio?

Tens of thousands of people can march in Washington D.C. for social justice and be hailed as righteously exercising their right, but the same number of people are unrighteous and spreading disease if they gather for a Trump rally.

Black Lives Matter. Of course they do. Then multiple black police officers and individuals were killed during the “peaceful protests”. I don’t see any outrage. Black owned businesses are burned to the ground. Silence. Deadliest weekend in Chicago. NOTHING!! Just listen to the black community leaders. No, not those conservative ones.

If you are silent you are part of the problem. If you speak, you are part of the problem. If you have to ask, you don’t understand. If you don’t ask, you don’t care.

Nothing makes sense. It is confusing and exhausting, but I’m sure the media and politicians are eagerly ready to perpetuate it to influence the next election.”

I believe 80% of the world’s problems would be solved if we silenced the media and politicians for 3 months. I know I have more peace if I don’t listen to them and keep my eyes on the Lord. I heard it said, “Once you’ve tasted the grace of God, you’re ruined for the things of this world.”

C.S. Lewis remarked, “If this world does not satisfy me, perhaps it is because I was made for another world.”

Romans 8:23-25 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Desiring (groaning inwardly) for our heavenly home is natural for children of God. This world has no hold on us. We naturally want to be with our Father and the saints who have gone home before us.

Those without Christ have no hope of a better life. This wretched world is the best they can hope for before they spend an eternity in Hell. Therefore, they recommend that we “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we may die.”

That is why we must tell them about the hope we have in Christ Jesus. That is why our Father has not let us get off this world yet. He loves them and wants them to come home to Him.

When people see us, do they know we’re citizens of Heaven? For many years after we moved to the South, people would say to us, “You ain’t from around here. Where you from?” Now, they no longer ask. We fit in. As Christ’s witness to this world, we should never fit in with this fallen world. People ought to be able to tell that this world isn’t our home and wonder about the hope we have.

Don’t get comfortable here or distracted by the latest “crisis”. We’re on a different path than the world, and that should be obvious to other people. We should have a desire to leave this world and go “home”. But, while we are here, remember our task is to pray, to make a Christian impact, and to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because science, politics, education, and financial prosperity will not produce peace in this world—only God can. We are His ambassadors.

All this confusion can cause a person to become sick of the lies and fed up with the values of this world. We are here to point them to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Psalm 120:1-7 In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. Deliver me, O LORD, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue. What shall be given to you, and what more shall be done to you, you deceitful tongue? A warrior’s sharp arrows, with glowing coals of the broom tree! Woe to me, that I sojourn in Meshech, that I dwell among the tents of Kedar! Too long have I had my dwelling among those who hate peace. I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war!

The psalmist is stressed over the society he lives in. He cries, “I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war”. He also cries out, “Deliver me, O Lord, from lying lips and deceitful tongues”. Was he talking about politicians, the media, and academia? Whomever it was, they were motivated by the same “father of lies” as are liars today. Unbelievers—motivated by Satan—will call evil good and good evil. They will call us bigots and haters when we speak nicely to them and try to warn them about the consequences of sin and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

We live in a world filled with lies. We’ve been told that people are basically good, that the world is a good place, that looking good is more important than being good, that material prosperity is the measure of success. These are all lies.

Advertisers claim to know what we need, entertainers offer distractions from our problems, alcohol and drugs provide an escape from reality, politicians promise to solve our problems, yet nothing in this world can satisfy our desire for the Truth.

Jesus said in John 14:1-7, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Only He can satisfy our deepest, inner longings. He invites us to come to Him and walk in the light with Him. Yet, when confronted with the truth, many people choose darkness rather than Jesus.

Jesus said in John 3:19-21, “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

Since we can’t get off this world and escape the lies and darkness, what can we do?

We can seek the Kingdom of God. There we will enjoy light and truth. We find it by turning from our sin to Christ. This turning is repentance. Some people think repentance is an emotion, that it’s feeling really sorry, saddened by our situation. We can feel sad all the day long, but until we turn away from it and turn to Jesus Christ, we have not repented. We’re living a lie.

Repentance involves change. It’s deciding that I’ve been wrong in supposing that I can manage my own life. Repentance is a decision to die daily to self and follow the Jesus Christ by obeying His Word in this evil world. But repentance is more than a decision. Repentance requires acting on those decisions.

Therefore, we need God’s grace to repent and obey Him. We get God’s grace by crying out to Him for His Holy Spirit to fill us with the presence of God. The Holy Spirit is the grace to change us, to transform our thinking, and to enable us to act like Jesus.

Isaiah 30:18-21 Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

The Hebrew word used for walk in this passage means a couple things. First, it means to “come away”. The LORD invites us to come away, take a respite from the pressures of life. He want us to spend time alone with Him and be refreshed and renewed within our spirit, to regain our purpose of seeing what truly matters in life. Jesus is the one who gives rest and refreshing in our lives. Each person must decide to come away from the things of the world and spend time with Jesus.

Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Secondly, the term walk, means to pursue God. God deals with our “lost-ness” by pursuing us, longing for us to respond to His work and offer of grace. When we respond to His pursuit and begin to pursue Him through faith in Jesus Christ, God begins in us a work of restoration. He will set us on a new path of life. And He will use our past to glorify His mercy, forgiveness, love, and grace. With the help He gives us, we can help others experiencing the same things.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

The pursuit for God doesn’t stop there. The Holy Spirit gives us a love for Christ that motivates us to obey Him. As God has pursued us, we now pursue God with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength because we love Him more than our own life. He is our life. Nothing else gives us satisfaction, peace, or joy. We lose the desire for things of this world. That is why we wish the world would “stop and let us get off”.

John 14:15-17 If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”

The world is passing away. Jesus is coming. In the meantime, we have a job to do. Let’s not get weary. Let’s not try to escape. Let’s become more zealous about loving Jesus, living for Jesus, spending time with Him, and being a witness for Him in this world. Let’s share the Gospel of reconciliation with our world.

2 Corinthians 5:18-21 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Don’t get distracted by the events of this world. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Be filled with the Holy Spirit. When our time on this earth is done, may we hear Him saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:21)