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How to Worship when War Hits Home: Stand firm in Jesus
Pastor Mike Novotny
by Pastor Mike Novotny
March 16, 2022

Honestly, war doesn’t make sense to me. Today, as I open my phone and scroll through another round of gruesome headlines, my sense of reason is shaking its head. What is the point of it all? How many people will die and for what? How many poor souls will be orphaned and widowed when this is all said and done? I’m trying to make a pros/cons list to make sense of what I’m seeing, but there are too many cons to convince myself that reason is running this show.

But maybe I shouldn’t be all that surprised. After all, sin doesn’t make sense. Sin, and those who are controlled by it, is a selfish, illogical beast. It wants and it takes. It sees and it steals. It covets and it pounces. We shouldn’t be shocked when sinners don’t think about God, about love, or about the living faith that loves its neighbor.

Jesus warned us that it would get this bad: “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold” (Matthew 24:9-12). Notice the strength of the verbs (persecuted, put to death, hated, betray, hate, deceive, grow cold) and the size of the adverbs (many, many, most). Jesus isn’t promising us a loving, logical world but rather one where most people’s love grows cold.

So don’t be alarmed when those who have all the power want even more. Don’t be shocked when those who have more than enough land covet even more. Don’t be baffled when people who have plenty of money start wars to get even more. This world is the world, and its “prince” exists to steal and kill and destroy (John 12:31; 10:10).

But before we lose heart, I should let Jesus finish his sentence: “The love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Matthew 24:12,13). While “most” go to war to get what they want, “the one” stands firm in Jesus. That is why we refuse to be alarmed. There is an end to this seemingly tragic story, namely, the triumph of Jesus and those who stand with him. Although it seems like evil is winning, it won’t. It can’t. The God who is good is the judge of the living and the dead, and he will make sure that this all works out for our good (Romans 8:28).

My youngest daughter recently made me a handmade, stitched bracelet. The back side is a tangled mess of string and knots, crisscrossing in ways that don’t really make sense. However, the front side of that same bracelet reads, in clearly stitched letters, “Blessed.”

Those living in this world see the tangled, senseless mess of war. But there will be a day when God’s people get to the other side, when we are saved, when we realize that in Jesus we are and always have been blessed.