Restoration: Lighten Up!

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Lighten Up!

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Do you ever get tired of all the bad news you see exploited in today's 24/7 media? You know the type I'm talking about. Today's news is filled with out-of-control celebrities who have more money than common sense. Every time you hear of a girl abducted from a mall parking lot, you shudder, knowing the odds of her safe recovery are slim. There are a lot of bad people today.

There is very little good news coming out of the political campaigns. Accusations, attacks and "spin" are the common stock of political debate. While real problems need hard, honest solutions, you seldom hear these discussions on the campaign trail. You are left with a frustrated feeling at an appalling lack of leadership.

News is not news, it seems, unless it is sensational, absurd or tragic. Let someone slip and make a huge public mistake, and every detail of the incident has to be unearthed, analyzed and discussed as it goes through the news cycle. Seldom do we see a focus on people and events that reflect positive contributions to society.

Let's be honest. There is a lot of bad news in today's world. And then you turn to the Bible and prophecy. There you read of tribulation, plagues, war and famine. You read of the fall of nations and age-ending chaos. We face a dramatic future.

Each month as we prepare World News and Prophecy our staff is faced with all these topics. We decide what we will write about. We watch world news and strive to fully understand the gravity of events taking place around the world. We analyze them in light of what the Bible tells us about human nature and God's plan. We write with clarity and always with the goal of giving you a measure of hope that there is light at the end of the long, dark tunnel that life seems to be.

There are times we wonder whether we might be approaching a point where "prophecy fatigue" sets in. You can write month after month on these subjects and face the moments when you wonder whether you have lost your effectiveness and your audience has grown tired of hearing what you have to say.

You wonder whether you should "lighten up."

When I reach those moments, I turn to an episode from the life of Jeremiah the prophet. He was tired of his gloom-and-doom message, and his audience was tired as well. His message of violence and plunder to come on the nation was ridiculed. Every day he faced hostile reaction from the nation's leaders and the man on the street. Depressed, he wanted to withdraw—go "off the air" and stop "publishing" (Jeremiah 20:7-9). For a brief period he decided to "lighten up" and read the sports pages, as it were, before he read the front page. But then he was made aware of other bad things happening to good people and creating more problems on the streets. He was back to the front page and moved to once again preach God's warning message: "But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not" (verse 9, emphasis added).

Throughout the ages everyone who has been used of God to preach His message of repentance in advance of the coming Kingdom has faced the same dilemma. They grow weary of the message and want to bail out. Some shrink in fear of what others may say about them. But all true servants of God have had to step up to the plate and do the job of preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God. It is the only way forward.

This column is titled for one of the Bible's most encouraging statements, which refers to the glorious return of Christ, "whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things" (Acts 3:21). This hope helps lighten the burden on all of us who see all the bad news of today and pray "Your kingdom come." WNP