I don’t turn on the news very often anymore. I can’t handle it. Talking heads speaking of shootings and suffering and tornadoes and corruption, and they talk casually. In one breath they talk death, and the next they joke and talk sports and sip coffee like what was just said doesn't matter.
I don’t watch the news often anymore. It leaves my stomach twisted and uncomfortable, it makes me struggle to eat and think about my family and do my job. The world seems so much bigger, its problems so unsolvable, and I am not strong enough.
I don’t watch the news much, because the despair of this world seems to hang in the air like a thick fog. Impenetrable. It hangs and leaves me doubting and struggling to find hope or answers. So I insulate myself with the small, the mundane, the pointless.
I don’t watch the news much, instead I spend my time doing the little things that make me forget about the fog and despair and pain out there somewhere. I read Potter, and watch Pixar, play games and bury myself deep within the cocoon of small town life. If only I don’t look up too long I will not notice the fog; I will not see that the world is crumbling under the weight of it.
Malachi 3 speaks into the fog, and into my cocoon. It’s voice is calm, it’s message direct. “Behold, I send my messenger and he will prepare the way before me,” he says. And I know the old story, the story of how John the Baptist came before the Christ-child. I know how he called a people and a place to repentance, and how the Christ child died and rose and forgave and promised hope.
Yet 2000 years later and life is still dense with despair. The killings and violence and trafficking and drugs and slander and cutting and suicide and gossip and starvation—they are still here. Surely there is more to the plan than forgiving us and leaving us to live in this fog—this hell on earth?
And there is more, says the wise and true Malachi. “And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple, and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver.”
And I begin to see the hope. The Christ, my king, will not sit quietly forever. He will come like the sun comes against the morning fog. The fog cannot stand against the power of the sun, and this fog cannot stand against God’s Son. Day is coming. The Lord whom you seek is coming!
But do I seek? Or do I hide from the darkness and fog of this world. The message of Malachi is not to hide until day, but to look up, and to get ready. The message of Malachi is to build homes for light and goodness while waiting for victory. To fight against darkness.
Hiding in my own little world does nothing, it makes us part of the fog, part of the problem. But look for the light, and prepare for the day! Watch the news with a soft heart, let your stomach be turned by the evil of the world, and let your feet be swift to bring light to those dark places.
What is the greater darkness? Is it worse to be part of the darkness of violence and greed and lust, to join in that darkness, or is it worse to know that there is a better way, a way of joy and life and unity and love, but keep it to yourself?
When Christ first came, he shared the hope, and he gave us the mission. The hope is that he will make this world right again—he will vanquish darkness! The mission is that until he comes and does that we are to fight the darkness and bring light to everywhere we can!
So turn on the news, see where the world is hurting, and then move into it. Visit the sick at the hospital, mow the lawn of the widow, be a big sister to a young and confused child, plant trees, turn the other cheek, forgive your enemies, share your faith, rescue the slave—remind people that Light is real—that He is real. And that He is coming.