In her later years, my mother’s world came to a halt each day when the soap opera “As the World Turns” came on. For twenty years, that program was the most watched show on television. Initially, the conservative sponsor insisted the story line playing out in Oakdale must be wholesome family entertainment. Infidelity may have only been hinted at, and abortion was never mentioned. But as the world continued to turn, times changed and with it the themes playing out on the screen. I’m not sure my Jesus-loving, conservative mother particularly noticed. How subtly we can be seduced into turning aside from what is pure and good and God-honoring to acceptance of the unholy. Turn is a word that seems to be emboldened on nearly every page of Scripture I read these days. And, slowly, I’m learning that when that happens, the Lord is talking to me. Turn (to change in direction, position or form) is a pivotal (pardon the pun) word on which so many events in Scripture seem to hinge. While I have mocked the devotees of that TV show, I have to admit that my attention can be subtly diverted from God-honoring thinking, trusting Him with my future, and that of my loved ones—and my country—to being cynical, critical, and negative. My thought life seems to spiral downward when my eyes are fixed on the problems and tensions in our world, the injustices and the sense that the bad guys always win and that things are going from bad to worse. I am so thankful that my heavenly Father calls me back to turn from fear to child-like faith (Matthew 18:3) to the One who sustains everything in creation by His word of power. The Psalmist wrote, “Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil … turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” (Psalm 34:11-14) In order to be a part of the solution in our nation and not the problem, for starters, here’s what I’m certain is my incomplete list of resolves:
- “Close my ears to the enemy’s whispers of hopelessness and despair by turning off the spigot of negative thinking and predictions—and possibly, the television.
- Turn my eyes back to the Lord, the fearsome, all powerful One, and His Word.
- Offer up praise and thanksgiving for His faithfulness to me and mine in the past and His assurance of seeing His goodness in the days ahead.
- Pray for God to do what only He can do, which is to turn His people, back to whole-hearted devotion to Him and the healing of our nation.
- Use my tongue to speak words of life—love, hope, encouragement.
- “And do good.” I’m not called to do the grand things, but the good things, by serving faithfully those He has put in my life; to be an instrument of His peace for the restless souls around me who need to know the Prince of Peace.
As our world has continued to turn toward violence, lawlessness, and sexual immorality, idolatry, etc., let us remember that it is not spinning out of control. Our God has not lost His grip. But He is surely getting our attention. He gave us His word: “… if My people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (II Chronicles 7:14) In what way is God calling you to turn? Let us hear from you. He may be starting a movement!