Yep, I have no idea what 's going on. There's talk of war and there's talk of peace. There's talk of hope and there's talk of despair. There's talk of safety and talk of great danger. There's proposals and arguments. There's ideas. There's anger. There's mainly uncertainty. Maybe nobody has a clue.
It's strange, living in a country where things don't normally go wrong on a provincial or federal scale. It's strange, growing up in a generation that gets its kicks out of high action and high intensity movies... and then wondering if maybe it's all coming to life. It's strange. It's all very strange.
And I know that might sound petty and frivolous when people are being mass murdered, thrown off buildings, and exploded, and maybe it is. All I know is that around me, wherever I look, I just see uncertainty. I hear so many different opinions every day, all from people I know and trust. I change my mind all the time concerning today's world events. One day I say, "Let the refugees in!" The next, I say, "Keep them out- for now." Then I switch and think, "Let the women and children in." And in the end, I have to admit that I don't know. I don't have an answer, and I haven't found anyone who does.
It's frightening, but also surreal. It's like we, the privileged, rich, healthy, and educated children of North America, are now being faced with the things that we've known about all our lives, but never had to face. Ask any five-year-old at your church about the problems of this world, and they will surely rattle them off with a nonchalant grin on their face: Poverty, war, starvation, disease, orphans, slavery, etc.
I'm one of those kids. Me and all my friends. We've had it good so far. Easy. We've been living in heaven, compared to the rest of humanity. It's like we have created two worlds in our minds- at least, I know I have. One world spins on its axis and houses me, my family, my friends, my school, my church, my life. This world has its share of problems, but they are minor. I graduate, I go to university, I learn and grow, I meet new friends, I travel and explore, I get a job that I love, I earn money, I get married to Prince Charming, I have two perfect kids, and I eventually die of old age. That's my world.
The other world spins on its axis and its where everyone else lives. The homeless, the destitute, the unemployed, the sick and dying, the poor, the lonely, the orphans, the oppressed, the second and third world countries. This world has nothing but problems. They are major. People die every day. People are born, they survive, they scavenge or beg for food, they care for their sick family members, they find shelter anywhere they can, they are always on the run, they don't have a home, they are martyred for their faith, they die young. That's their world. I've gone to that world. I've been to Southeast Asia and spent time with some of the poorest people on the planet. I've been to Guatemala and seen the brokenness and suffering... but they have been mere snippets. For all my life, I've been content to watch both worlds spin separately. They hardly coincide. They exist on their own. They seem independent.
But now, for the first time in my life that I can remember, the other world seems to be knocking on our door. I've gone to them, I've tossed a prayer up for them... but now, that world has come to us. They are coming. They have arrived. What my generation has been watching in theaters as we eat popcorn... it's happening on our shores. Secret hacker groups exist, and they can do real damage. Terrorism exists, and it can even reach seemingly invincible prosperous nations. Poverty and oppression may be most rampant in places like the middle east, but it's spreading. Trouble is brewing. The flame is being kindled every day. There are more people living on earth today than at any other time in history.... And if they could botch things up terribly back then, how much damage could we do with 7 billion?
So, no. I don't know. I wish I did. Nobody knows what to do. Discussions arise every day in class, but nobody truly knows what's going on, or what should be done. One minute, we are discussing scholarships and planning our futures. The other minute, we are wondering if we will ever reach those futures. One minute, we are planning our families and dreaming about life. The next minute, even life is uncertain. One minute, we are excited to graduate. The next minute, we are wanting to stay in the security of adolescence. There is fear, even though we are too confused to show it.
But how blind are we?! Did we really think that the world would keep quiet and calm to allow the millennials an easy passage through life? Did we really think that all conflicts were in the past? My mind jumps from ISIS to my Physics test to the Syrian refugees to my relationships to Anonymous to my family and back. I may be oblivious, but I notice that even the older people in my life that I respect and trust... are drawing a blank.
So here's what I've decided to do. For starters, I've accepted that there's nothing I can do... on a worldly scale. I could post mean tweets about Justin Trudeau, I could write nasty letters that would get lost with the millions of others, but in reality, I do not have much of a voice in this scenario. Even if I had a clear picture of how Canada should respond, I cannot enforce it. I do not have that power.
Realizing my insignificance politically, I've decided to take up the torch in a different way. My focus has been turned to the middle east and Paris, I've been fretting over problems that I have no control over, and decisions that are not mine to make. Meanwhile, I've been neglecting the problems that I can do something about, and I've been ignoring the decisions that are mine to make... like my decision to love every person in my school. Or my decision to take time for God. Or my decision to live a healthy lifestyle. These are my decisions, not Trudeau's, not ISIS', not Anonymous', but mine.
The world is full of evil, and it's now becoming apparent to us young'uns who have been relatively sheltered all our lives. This I know: Satan cannot drive out Satan. (Matthew 12:27) Goodness is the only thing that can drive out evil. I believe that every time I act in obedience to God, I push back the dark. And even though that darkness is enclosing us and feels suffocating, it cannot extinguish our light until the day that we deny Christ... and that's not happening on my watch.
So, starting with the little things, I'm going to push back the dark. I will smile at strangers. I will conduct myself in a way pleasing to God at the store, restaurants, dorms, school, and church. I will pray for my friends and family consistently. I will pray for my country every day. I will pray for those suffering at the hands of extremists all over the world. I will pray for Muslim radicals, atheist radicals, dangerous people overseas, and for dangerous people in Canada. I will pray for the government. I will pray. And I believe that if I can learn to obey God in the little things, daily, He will carry me to completion when the big decisions come. They're not here yet, but they may be here soon. I hope to be aware and diligent in the choices I make every day, big or small, even to the day when a gun is put to my head and I pay for my choice to follow Jesus with my life. That's my decision.
1 John 5:18-19~
Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear.
If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not
fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other
because He loved us first.
1 John 3:24~
Those who obey God's commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them.
And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us.
1 John 4:12~
No one has ever seen God.
But if we love each other, God lives in us,
and his love is brought to full expression in us.
Be encouraged, and never lose hope. Our future is uncertain. It may play out exactly as we hope and dream, but it may take an alternate route through insanity. We don't know, and we won't until it happens. So until it does, let's prepare ourselves. Let's start training now. Let's step up to the plate as God's army of Light and Love. Push the darkness out of your room, out of your house, out of your community and town.
We are secure in Christ. The worst that could happen to us is death... but for our family of believers, death is a total win.