Terrorist attacks on Paris. Syrian refugees. Lufthansa pilot-forced airliner crash. The top news stories of 2015 have been about tragedies. When we hear about calamities and catastrophes, we are shocked; we are shaken out of our own comfortable routines and forced to pay attention to the hardships and extremities of others. The response of many countries to help resettle Syrian refugees forced from their own war-torn country shows that some news moves us enough to cause us to act.
It’s worth taking a look at this phenomenon—not necessarily of the refugee situation, or of attacks of some people against others—but of news that moves us. What is it about certain news that causes us to be willing to change our routines, our norms, and even our foundational goals for the sake of others? What is it that causes us to make a paradigm shift in our thinking and behaviour as a result of some news?
I believe news only changes us when we see its relevance to our own lives. When we see or hear news that rings true and that strikes a resonating chord with us, we are changed. Our thinking changes, our emotions often express that change, and our behaviours change.
The Bible talks about this same phenomenon.
God made a promise thousands of years ago to the human race. It was spoken specifically to Abraham but it referred to every one of us who would ever live. That promise was the epitome of news. The bottom line of what God said to Abraham was, “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
This wasn’t a vague blessing bestowed by a benevolent but somewhat passive divine being upon His vast creation. It was news that God had begun a series of intricately timed occurrences that would culminate in an outrageous event: His own incarnation as one of us—for the express purpose of rescue. Why rescue? Think hard and deep.
Think about life. Think about the times you’ve messed up—we all have. Think about what it could be like if it was perfect. God designed life to be perfect for us, but we are a rebellious lot, to be truthful. We need someone to rescue us from ourselves, and Jesus is that Someone.
If that news strikes home, if it pierces to your very soul and is more relevant to you than anything else on this planet, then you’ve heard news that will move you. It will move you to entrust the remainder of your days and your eternity to Him. It will move you admit daily that you fall short of His hopes for you, but it will allow you to submit yourself to His gracious work changing your character to become like His—true and honest and good. It will move you to love God and love your neighbour in ever-expanding ways.
Sadly, not every one of us will benefit from this news. Like the many who ignore the plight of Syrian refugees, turn a blind eye to the hurting in the world, or give nothing more than a passing glance at the real cause of this world’s turmoil, the good news of Jesus will not take root in everyone’s lives. God gives us a choice. He presents it as news in the best way each of us can understand and leaves the response to us.
Honestly, our worst response is to reject the offer, to ignore it, to try some other means of finding relief from our troubles or to hide them altogether. But our best response is just to simply trust Him—to say it, to think on it and to act on it. That’s when God’s good news moves us the way it was intended to.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” That’s amazing news.
(Photo Credit: “International newspaper, Rome May 2005”. Licensed under Attribution via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:International_newspaper,_Rome_May_2005.jpg#/media/File:International_newspaper,_Rome_May_2005.jpg)