Getting the Most Out of Each Day’s Litany of Troublesome News

May 28, 2021 by David Fowler

Getting the Most Out of Each Day’s Litany of Troublesome News
An unexpected and unlikely friend of mine—one who is my polar opposite politically and theologically—recently said, after several years of observing me, something like this, “You’ve changed. You just seem a whole lot more at peace than you used to be.” I am. I hadn’t really given much thought to the truth of what my friend said, but I realized it was true simply from the way I now read newspapers (digitally). 
Unlike years past, I now read public news reports rather quickly. I more or less scan the headlines for themes. And to be honest, I now read them somewhat indifferently, not because I don’t care about what’s going on, but because I know what I most care about.
This turns on the fact that God has graciously brought me to a place in which I am beginning to see everything in terms of one great antithesis—those whom theologians would say are in Adam and live in his “kingdom” according to its principles and those who are in Christ, the second man and last Adam, and live in a new and different kingdom, His Kingdom, according to its principles. 
So, when it comes to public media, I know that virtually everything it reports will be about the first Adam’s kingdom—what is going on and how his descendants are going to fix things. 
Consequently, the specifics of the stories are of less interest now than in the past, because I have a settled assurance that whatever the stories say those in that kingdom are up to and no matter how promising the prospects for their agenda may now appear, God will bring it to an end at His appointed time (See Isaiah 17:10-11).  
This, in turn, explains why those things don’t disrupt my peace as they once did.
Now my interest in the news lies more in how God might use it to instruct me in how to live and how best to work toward that for which Christ’s kingdom was established. 

What Getting the Most from the News Looks Like 

For example, I ran across these words in a sermon of John Owen preached on April 9, 1680, entitled “The use and advantage of faith in a time of public calamity.” It was based on Habakkuk 2:4, “The just shall live by his faith.” 
Owen described his own time as one of calamity, and I suspect his description of the mindset of many in his time could be said of many in our time:
“There are some that are, indeed, really afraid of approaching judgments; they do not know how soon they will reach unto themselves, their persons, their families, their relations, their estates, — all that they have laboured for, and exerted their utmost care and industry about in the world; the flood flies at the door, ready to carry all before it; they fear every day.”
But this is what he said of those with the eye of faith in God:
“God will appear to be awfully majestic and wonderfully glorious in such dispensations. . . . If we have the light of faith to let it in, we shall see a majesty and glory in God’s actings, even in his public and distressing judgments, — such a greatness and a glory that the soul will be constrained to bow down before him.”  
That, to be honest, is what I see happening now—God is doing something majestic and glorious even amid of our calamitous times.
Why would I believe such a thing? Because that is who God is—majestic and glorious; He could do nothing less. Anything less would be, as we might say, beneath Him. 

Making Sure the News Hits Home to Good Effect

But Owen said one other thing that was striking to me, and it relates to what I said about what I now want to glean from my daily perusal of the news:
“If we live by faith in the approach of a calamitous season, this will put us upon the search and examination of our own hearts, what accession we have made to the sins that have procured these judgments.”
In other words, I need to be asking God to show me in what ways I have contributed or added to the darkness found in the headlines and spend far less time worrying about and complaining to God about the darkness. I increasingly realize I have contributed my fair share, if not more.
Then Owen comes to this conclusion, which I want to be my own:
“Would we might advise with one another what to do under these decays, — to further one another in recovering ourselves from them! This, then, is what we are called to, and is required of us, — namely, faith in the faithfulness of Christ, who hath built his church upon the rock, [so] that, be things never so bad, it shall not be prevailed against; — faith in the fulness of the Spirit, and his promise to send him to renew the face of the church; faith in apprehending the truth of God, who hath foretold these things; and faith putting us upon those especial duties that God requires at our hands in such a season.”(emphasis added)
You can read what I think all this looks like in connection with my political work at this link which I’ve entitled, “What is the Real End Game in Politics.”
However, if all this reads like a lot of gobbly gook or is different from what you’ve heard in church, particularly if you wonder what in the world this has to do with politics, law, and public policy, then join me for a new series I’m beginning today on our podcast, God, Law & Liberty, “The Why and How of Christian Political Engagement.”

David Fowler is an attorney and served in the Tennessee state Senate for 12 years before joining FACT as President in 2006.

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