Fear seems to be ruling the day. If you watch closely, most of what you hear from presidential candidates begging for your vote is based on of fear. If this guy wins, he’s going to do this terrible thing. If this guy wins, there might not be another election in this country. And so on.
Fear rules the day.
But as Christians, we must be careful that fear does not rule us.
Ananias was afraid. God had given him what appeared to be a dangerous job. He had to go into a house and have a face to face meeting with a man who most Christians at that time tried to avoid. Here’s what Ananias said in his futile effort to talk God out of the plan.
But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” Acts 9:13-14 (ESV)
“Lord,” Ananias said, “Saul is evil and he has hurt your people. Not only that, he has been given authority by some pretty powerful people to keep on hurting your church.”
Do you ever picture God laughing? Probably not. We’ve been brought up believing that laughter is either a sin or something beneath the Creator of the universe. In reality, God does laugh. During Jesus’ earthly ministry, there is no doubt that he laughed when something was funny. But there is a specific time that the Bible speaks of God’s laughter.
The wicked plots against the righteous
and gnashes his teeth at him,
but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
for he sees that his day is coming. Psalm 37:12-13 (ESV)
I can’t help but picture God laughing when he hears a frightened Ananias talk about the so-called authority of those powerful men who were fighting against the Church. Whenever we encounter the authority of evil and powerful men, we must remember that their authority only goes so far. And we must remember the One whose authority is without end and without corruption.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Matthew 28:18 (ESV)
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. Colossians 1:15-18 (ESV)
If you watch the presidential debates, it’s easy to give in to fear. Especially when you consider the very likely scenario of an adult who acts like a child becoming our next president. If you care about liberty, both individual and religious, the death of Antonin Scalia can trigger a panic attack. And if you’re one who feeds on a steady diet of talk radio and the evening news shows, and the bogus news articles your friends post on Facebook about the president selling the country to Martians, the fear seems even more natural.
Thankfully, there is a better way. Just remember Ananias. Better yet, remember the God he served. If you are a Christian, you serve the same God. That God has always been good and he has always been in charge and that will never change.
When Pharaoh refused to let his people go, God laughed.
When Herod made people think that he was a god, the real God laughed.
And when we feel the burden of living under corrupt rulers today, God laughs.
But God does not laugh as one who does not care. And he does not laugh as one who is amused by the suffering of his people. It’s quite the opposite. God laughs at the absurd notion that those who rule over us are somehow in control of us. He laughs at wicked rulers like a Rottweiler laughs at a barking Chihuahua. He laughs because, as the Psalmist told us about the wicked man, “His day is coming.”
There are two ways for that day to come.
It can come like it did for wicked Saul and lead to faith, repentance and a life devoted to serving Jesus.
Or it can come like it did for evil Herod when he was immediately struck down by God and his body was eaten by worms.
Either way, their day will come. So if Christians are going to be afraid of something, we should be afraid of the fate that awaits wicked rulers who continue to embrace corruption while rejecting God. Their day will come.
We live in a scary world. But we have no reason to be afraid.
That’s because, no matter what happens in court rooms, congressional hearings, backroom meetings and polling places, our God is the final and ultimate authority.
And he laughs at anyone who thinks otherwise.