The Shocking Answer to Confusion, Chaos, and Despair
Culture shock is usually something experienced by individuals who move from one place to another. But increasingly, those of us who uphold traditional Christian values are experiencing culture shock without leaving home. The decadence is defeating. People think they want a permissive culture where anything goes. But it comes at a cost, and multitudes are struggling to cope with the turbulence caused by their own moral choices. Everywhere we turn, people are facing culture shock.
Where is God in all this? Where are you? How can we cope with today’s decadence? How can we turn the tables and shock people with grace? As never before, people need culture shock treatment—an answer to the confusion, chaos, despair, pain, and loss of a society facing septic shock.
They need to see Jesus.
Confusion: An Opportunity to Meet the God of Truth
Jesus came to represent His Father to a chaotic culture, and we can learn a lot about the Father by noticing the biblical phrase, “The God of….” Several times, for example, the Bible speaks of the “God of truth.” Moses said, “He is… a God of truth” (Deuteronomy 32:4).
The reason we’re in a mess is that we’ve rejected the truth.
The reason we’re in a mess is that we’ve rejected the truth—even the very concept of truth—and that leads to confusion. Jeremiah Johnston wrote, “It does not matter what the atheist (or nihilist) professors claim. Human beings are spiritual beings. God’s fingerprints are placed on every human heart. We hunger for the spiritual and when we’ve cast God out the door, when we ridicule and mock the Christian faith and replace it with odd, even diabolical, paranormal hocus pocus, we become entrapped.”1
Peter put it well in John 6:68: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” That’s a question for our times. When you feel confused by the culture, turn to the unchanging truth of God’s Word; and keep His words on your lips, always ready to share Scriptures with someone needing a word from the God of Truth.
Chaos: An Opportunity to Meet the God of Peace
Our culture is also in chaos, which provides an opportunity to introduce people to the “God of peace.” Paul told the Romans, “The God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.” He told the Philippians, “The God of peace will be with you.” He told the Thessalonians, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely.”
Recently a report surfaced of a young woman in Ukraine who was confused and in great despair. Walking along a channel, she planned to drown herself. A breeze blew a leaf into her face. Snatching it and looking at it, she saw it was a leaf from the book of Psalms, which had been ripped out of a Bible. She read about the God of mercy and peace, and through those words, she received Jesus as her Savior.2
The best shock treatment in the world is a leaf of truth from the God of peace.
I’m reminded of the old song that says, “The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.” The winds of chaos are leaving people in shock, but the best shock treatment in the world is a leaf of truth from the God of peace—perhaps a Scripture you distribute.
Despair: An Opportunity to Meet the God of Hope
Our world is also shocked with a sense of despair, but there’s a treatment for that too. Romans 15:13 says, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Our world worships many gods—the god of money, the god of sex, the god of fame, the god of power, the god of pleasure. But none of them can be called the “God of hope.” Only our God deserves that name.
I know you’re tired of politicians, courts, and media pundits who keep pushing our world further from God. But I have a theory. It’s all going to lead to a level of personal despair that will drive many people back to the Lord, so we’ve got to stay hopeful. The Bible says, “Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).
If we’re hopeful, we’ll be helpful. We’ll be able to administer the culture shock treatment of hope in the name of Christ.
Pain: An Opportunity to Meet the God of Comfort
The Bible also uses the term “the God of comfort” to describe our Lord. He “comforts us in all our tribulation,” says 2 Corinthians 1:4, “that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
When I’m overwhelmed by the evil I see around me, I turn my eyes to God. I remember Jesus. I remember the Cross and the Resurrection. I meditate on His reign and His sovereignty. That comforts me so much. I’m able to comfort others. And that’s the way to provide culture shock treatment to those around you. We comfort others with the comfort we receive as we see Jesus.
Loss: An Opportunity to Meet the God of Heaven
We can also help people in times of loss. Seven different books of the Bible use the phrase “the God of heaven” to describe our Lord. Psalm 136:26 says, “Oh, give thanks to the God of heaven! For His mercy endures forever.”
We’ve lost a lot in our day. We’ve lost our moral bearings and our societal roots in biblical truth, and those losses make other losses intolerable. When someone without God loses a loved one, for example, they’ve lost that loved one forever.
Christ came to introduce us to the God of heaven.
But that’s why Christ came—to introduce us to the God of heaven.
Imagine what Christ faced as He entered our world. Talk about culture shock! One day He was robed in light on the throne of glory, and the next day He was wrapped in swaddling cloths in a pile of hay.
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).
Jesus inserted Himself into our culture to represent the God of heaven. He is still inserting Himself into the culture through you and me. As difficult as we find these days, they provide opportunities for helping others see the Savior. And He Himself is the best culture shock treatment in the world.
Focus on Him. Find time each day for quiet reflection, Bible study, prayer, and meditation on the God of truth, the God of peace, the God of hope, the God of comfort, and the God of heaven.
Find ways of engaging the culture on this basis. Look for those who are confused, chaotic, hurting, facing despair, mourning loss. Remind them that God is with us in the midst of a chaotic culture, and we need to see the Savior as He works here among us.
Look for places to volunteer that will bring your path across those needing help. Be proactive. Get involved. Share your faith. Distribute Scriptures. Show up at evangelistic rallies. Invite others to Gospel meetings. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends how you can pray for them. Put your hand on someone’s shoulder and say, “God loves you, and so do I.”
It may shock them, but that’s the kind of culture shock they need.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13, NIV).
This article originally appeared in the February 2016 issue of Turning Points devotional magazine.
1Jeremiah J. Johnston, Unanswered (New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 2015), 126.
2“A Torn Page from God’s Word Becomes a Life Preserver,” http://blog.gideons.org/2012/08/testimonies–of–how–gods–word–has–prevented–suicide/.
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