Revive Our Hearts Podcast

A Biblical Response to America's Tragedy, Part 1

Leslie Basham: In the Bible we discover that King David faced frightening world situations--just like we do. How did he learn to trust God with his fears? This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Monday, October 1st.

King David faced many life-threatening situations. In the Psalms we read about some of the trials that he faced, and about his trust in God's protection. It's the same kind of trust we can have--even with the memory of the September 11th terrorist attacks still fresh in our minds. Today we're putting our scheduled program on hold to allow Nancy to address our need to trust God during this time. Here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I don't know that anything in my lifetime has so deeply affected the heart, the psyche, the emotions of the American people as have the events of the last few weeks. I think all of us have experienced, and certainly seen in others, this wide range of emotions: disbelief, shock, anger, sadness, grief, fear. At points perhaps you've even felt yourself feeling a sense of numbness. How many more of these images can we see replayed over and over and over again on our television screens and in our minds?

We're asking questions throughout this season of national tragedy--questions like: Am I safe? Are my children safe? Where is God in all of this? How am I supposed to pray? How do I handle this with my children? What's going to happen next?

This week I want to take some time to address some of those issues--not in the sense of giving any profound answers--because there are times in life when we have to just step back and say we're dealing with mystery. There's so much about all that is going on in this nation that we don't understand. Even as believers, who have the Word of God to shed light on our path, there's still mystery involved here. And this side of eternity there are some things that we will never be able to comprehend.

You and I cannot probe the depths, the ways and the mind of an infinite God. If we could, we would be God. However, God does speak to us through the circumstances and even the disasters of life. I think this is a time perhaps as never before that we need to be really listening--to try and hear what He is saying.

There's a verse in Proverbs that says it's the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the honor of kings is to search it out. God does hide many of His ways from us, but it's right that we should try and search out and see what God is saying to us--so that our hearts can be at rest as we hear what He has to say to us in this kind of time. Not only for our own sakes, but there are others around us (there are family members, there are friends, there are those in our workplaces who are asking questions and they're confused and they're pondering), and of all people at such a time, we as the children of God should have something to offer that speaks peace and comfort and hope in the midst of this kind of situation.

So over the next few days, I want to share with you several passages of Scripture that have really ministered grace to my heart over these recent weeks during this crisis time. If you're like me, you've spent hours listening to newscasters, reporters, commentators, talking about all that has gone on. Did you get a sense that they were struggling for words--just did not know how to express the sense of horror and shock and grief? There's a sense in which those who do not know Christ and do not know His Word will never be able to come up with meaningful, helpful responses to this kind of situation.

I've been so grateful for the Word of God in the midst of this crisis. God's Word gives perspective. There have been times when I found I just needed to turn off the television, turn off the radio, put down the newspaper and pick up the Word and say, "God, what are You saying about all this? Give me perspective in this confused and confusing time."

The Word of God gives us faith in times that are fearful. The Word of God gives us light and understanding and wisdom in times that are dark. God's Word gives us stability in times that are unsettled, times of upheaval and turmoil. And God's Word gives us peace in times that are troubled.

As I've talked with women and listened to them over the last few weeks, one of the most recurring themes that I've heard is this issue of fear: fear of getting on an airplane, fear of planes flying over. One woman wrote and said that her 11-year-old child came out of his bedroom at night just a few days after the attack in New York City, and she said he was just so scared because they live near a military base and he had heard some fighter planes flying overhead.

I received an e-mail last week from a 20-year-old young woman who serves on the staff of the ministry where I work. She put into words what I think many young and older women alike perhaps are wrestling with. Let me say, by the way, that fear is a natural response to disaster. It's very human. Annie put into words what she was experiencing. She said, "By last weekend I was feeling paralyzed by fear: fear of the future, fear of a new way of life, fear of living in fear. I felt that life would never be the same--it was basically over. I was imagining a war where all of the men I knew and loved were killed or came back as different people. I pictured a landscape torn apart by missiles, biological warfare and other weapons. I thought of walking down the streets with heavily armed military personnel breathing down my neck, listening to my phone calls and searching my possessions. I don't want to give up my freedom. I want to have a future to look forward to."

Annie speaks for a lot of women today. The question is, "How are we supposed to deal with this very natural fear, this very real fear?"

One of the first passages in God's Word that came to my mind in the wake of the disaster was Psalm chapter 46. I love the first two words of this psalm: "God is." That's the starting place. What is God? He is our refuge and He is our strength. He is a very present help in trouble. The margin of my Bible in that verse says He is "an abundantly available help." He's a refuge, a strength and a help. Those words imply to me that there will be times of danger when we need a refuge, times of weakness when we have no strength of our own left, times of desperate need and trouble when we have nowhere else to turn, no one else to look to--nowhere to look other than up. So the psalmist says God is our refuge; He is our strength; He is a very present help in time of trouble.

Now how should that knowledge about what God is like, about who He is--how should that affect the way that we respond to tragedy and to crisis? The psalmist tells us in verse 2, "Therefore [because this is who God is, because this is what He is like] we will not fear." We will not fear. He's not saying we won't be tempted to fear. He's not saying there won't be natural uprisings of fear within us. But he's saying we will not let fear rule or control our lives. We will not give in to fear. We will not let fear rule.

Then he talks about some devastating and disastrous circumstances that can come into our lives; and at the time, I believe that Jerusalem he's talking about here, the capital city in this passage, was under attack. It was being besieged and it was as if an earthquake and great floods were coming. He said in verse 2, "Even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling."

Then in verse 6, not only are there disasters in nature but turbulence in nations. "The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved." Let me say it's not a matter of if trouble comes, but it's a matter of when trouble comes. What will we do? The Scripture tells us that in the last days perilous times will come. We're seeing that in our world. It says that evil men will grow worse and worse, that there will be an increase in wars and in disasters and in pestilence in this world.

So what do we do when trouble comes--when it's the earthquakes and the floods, whether literal or the ones that come into our lives or into our nation and threaten to overwhelm us? The psalmist says, "I'm going to make a determined choice and act of my will: I will not fear." Why? Because God is my refuge; He is my strength; and He is an abundantly available help in time of trouble. He's not suggesting that we deny that there is trouble, or that we escape from the trouble, but rather that we refuse to give in to the power and control of fear. If we've seen anything in the last few weeks, it has been the uncertainty of life: that life is fragile, that we live in a fallen and broken world. One day on a Monday everything can be going great. The next day on a Tuesday our whole world can be taken over by grief and pain and loss. National symbols that we thought to be invincible...collapse. And it happens in our lives.

I think of a friend whose home was broken into recently while she was out of town. There's a natural sense of fear. No one is immune, not even believers, from the lostness and the fallenness and the brokenness of this world apart from Christ. But in the midst of the crumbling mountains and the earth around that may be caving in, the psalmist says, "I will not fear."

Leslie Basham: That's Nancy Leigh DeMoss offering us hope during times of fear. Nancy will be back to close our program in just a minute, and if you know someone experiencing fear or anxiety who would benefit from hearing today's message, you can order them a copy on cassette. We'll be setting aside our normally scheduled programs to bring you a special series of messages this week called A Biblical Response to America's Tragedy. You can get the whole series on one cassette for a suggested donation of $5. Just give us a call at 1-800-569-5959. Or visit our Web site, ReviveOurHearts.com.

We'd also like to know what God has been doing in your life and teaching you during the last few weeks. Write to us at Revive Our Hearts.

Tomorrow Nancy will continue our study on Psalm 46, helping us find direction in the aftermath of terrorist attacks. Now here's Nancy with a final thought.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Let me tell you how my friend, Annie, closed her e-mail. She talked about the fear that she was experiencing. Then she said, "The Lord lifted me out of this black fog by showing me Himself. As I came to understand that my God had not changed, I saw that He is still good. He still loves me. He still has a future and a hope for my life and has plans to prosper and not to harm me. My change of perspective has given me the freedom to continue living--not forgetting, ignoring or minimizing the situation at hand, but living through it. I am safe in His hands. My future is safe. And those I love are safe. Whether we go to war or not, whether we lose freedoms or keep our liberties, whether we live or die--God is still God." Then she closed with this sentence: "Needless to say, I have joy and peace once again."

Leslie Basham:  

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

Join the Discussion