June 27, 2023
Many of us woke up a few days ago—Saturday morning, June 24, 2023—to sobering wall-to-wall coverage of the news out of Russia. It appeared that a potential coup or civil war was about to unfold against Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia—the first such unrest against a leader with control of nuclear weapons. By the end of the day a deal was reached and the immediate crisis averted—while leaving lots of uncertainty in the air.
As so many incidents do, this one yet again stripped away the illusion of security in our world. (If you want more background on the situation, you can find the facts at any news outlet or the short “Background” summary at the end of this piece on my website only.)
All day Saturday, as many of us listened to the experts sharing what a big deal this could be, there was a real undercurrent of fear. I spoke with many people that day to hear how they were processing it—average moms, young people, and even the wife of a foreign policy expert (and who was intensely concerned).
One woman summed up what everyone seemed to be saying: “What do we do with this? What do we do with this fear? This could literally affect the whole world. And there is also literally nothing we can do about it.”
So what do we do in times like this? How do we respond?
On Saturday, one of my team members pointed out, “We are only just coming up for air from COVID and the fear that overtook so many people.” She wondered, “How can we as believers look at situations like this, with all its uncertainty, and stand against fear and all the ‘what ifs’ rather than triggering all that anxiety again?”
That is a great question. Especially since these sorts of security issues are not going away in our world. (And the Russia situation itself is still uncertain and fluid.)
I can think of four key responses that will help every Christian—and every church—to not give in to a spirit of fear during fearful times. These are just a starting point, but they will help us and our kids navigate these seasons. I’m sure many of you have other good ideas to share.