Real power in a dark world
BY AL EARLEY
The local news leads off with murder and violent crime reports. The national news continually focuses on the negative impact of everything. Much of what is reported completely contradicts what was reported last week. We can get all this bad news 24-7-365. I find it is overwhelming people with darkness and gloom.
It reminds me of the old “Hee-Haw” chant, “Gloom, despair and agony on me, deep dark depression, excessive misery. If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all. Gloom, despair and agony on me!” I sense that this depression of the media news has spilled over into many folk’s personal lives. So many people seem down or even depressed. I refuse to live this way. Many years ago I cut all television news out of my life, and cut way back on all the other sources of news available to me. I have no regrets. I find I am well informed because the news doesn’t actually change that much. Most importantly, I have more time to focus on what God is doing in my life, and that makes me much happier.
As we struggle with the complicated world of pandemics, shots, quarantines, renewed unrest in the Middle East (nothing new there), and all the other problems of the world, we must never forget there is a power in the world that can bring real power and real hope into the deepest darkness of our lives, into the most hopeless situations. That is the power of the Holy Spirit of God.
Consider how hopeless the world looked after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Judas hanged himself. Peter hated himself. The rest of the disciples hid themselves in fear, and some left town. They must have wondered, “The Messiah? Who worships a dead messiah? Three years wasted, and the world is going to Hades.” After the resurrected Lord encountered those beaten, frightened disciples, they were full of joy, and wanted to tell the world.
What did Jesus say? “Wait!” That is right, Jesus said, “Wait. Wait for real power – power to change the world” (Luke 24:49). And they go back to Jerusalem and they obediently wait for that power – the gift of the Holy Spirit. I believe the joy of seeing the risen Lord would have been overwhelmed by the world without a power greater than themselves. How often do we begin a project with great energy and expectation, certain we will succeed, and then have our expectations beat out of us by the challenges of life? It was the power of God’s spirit that allowed those disciples to remain faithful when they were persecuted and died martyr’s deaths.
So often we work hard just to stay busy, wondering if maybe life will get easier if we just don’t deal with it. Or we let our depression lull us into inactivity, looking for any diversion to escape. Let us remind ourselves to wait, and pray without ceasing, that the spirit of God will give us power and hope, each new day. Remember, prayer is a very active endeavor that opens us up to God. It is God’s spirit that gives us power to become new creatures – to break with the pain and tragedy of our lives, to have freedom from past sins, to bring love into a hateful family, to change that part of ourselves and our world that seems evil and unchangeable.
This is the central message of many of the addiction recovery groups. Against the evil power of alcoholism, drug abuse, gambling, and other addictive behaviors our human spirit is weak. But if one turns to a higher power – God’s Holy Spirit – alcoholics find the strength to be free from alcohol’s grip on their lives. To become and stay sober. We can change. We do not have to keep repeating the sins of our past.
What is it about yourself that you want changed? Where in your life are you looking for the power to do something important to you? Is it important to God? Have you asked Holy Spirit to help you? What in the world needs to be changed? Wait before acting, and call on the Holy Spirit to come into your life. Pray over and over, “Come, Holy Spirit, come!” And expect God’s spirit to come into your soul and give you power.
To find out more about Al Earley or read previous articles, see www.lagrangepres.org.