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1WholeWorldSometimes inspiration, and even comfort, hit you….when you’re putting away laundry. That’s what happened to me this afternoon. I was hanging up my work shirts and listening to a Spotify playlist I made of my favorite Petra songs. That’s right, Petra, the 80s-90s Christian rock LEGENDS.

Toward the end of the playlist, this song, “Whole World” from the 1986 album “Back to the Street” came on. I’ve loved the song, and the album, for years. It brings me back to my childhood when my entire family was so into Petra that we even got to meet and hang out with John Lawry.  Ah the good old days, when Petra was the soundtrack to every single family road trip. I still have most of their songs memorized (at least everything up to “Beyond Belief”). Oh and yes, I get that the image I posted is from an Andy Stanley thing, but hey, Petra had it in ’86, yo.

Anyway, the song hit me today as soon as it started blaring through my speakers. There is so much crap going on in the world today. I leave my cell phone on all night because a couple of my most precious friends know that they can call me 24/7, but usually I just get hit with news notifications from different services. This morning it went off and when I looked at it, I saw that some ISIL types had attacked a church in France and murdered a Priest while he said mass.

Jeez.

We’re reading and hearing about this kind of stuff on a daily basis. It’s not just about ISIL and terrorism either00WholeWorld. The presence of Twitter, Facebook, and the 24 hour news media cycle make it seem like every little thing going wrong in the world is happening right on our doorstep. Maybe it’s police shootings. Maybe it’s people killing police. Maybe it’s the dire environmental news about things like climate change or other natural disasters. Maybe it’s bad economic news about food shortages and the lack of clean water in many places. Heck, if you haven’t been listening to the fear mongering that’s been taking place in the presidential election, you must be living under a rock. Last week a senator from Iowa attempted to scare the pants off everyone by going on for the RNC in Cleveland and basically talking about how ISIL is going to pop up in your living room like a Pokemon if you don’t vote for Trump. Similarly, the Democrats are peddling a narrative that the election of Donald Trump will bring civilization crashing down.

Are there legitimate things to worry about? Sure, and we shouldn’t be complacent, but the fear, the worry, is tearing us apart. In Matthew 6:27, Jesus point blank asks “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (ESV). We all know that taking that verse to heart is easier said than done, but I earnestly believe that Christ is in control, and hearing this song by Petra this afternoon drove it home.

Now I’m not one of those guys that think that God ordains all these bad things to happen. Nor do I think he’s up there with us all on strings like puppets. We have free will, and our choices have created the world we’re in. But this I know: ISIL will not stop God’s ultimate will. Neither will Trump, Clinton, the Brexit, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, or anything else. Only He knows when and how this ends, and it will happen according to his timetable, nobody else’s. In the meantime, we’re here to make this world a better place and bring his Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Even if I am destroyed in the process, I have a crown of life waiting and a Savior to welcome me, and hopefully he’ll say “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Until then, remember this when you hear the bad news cascading down: “He’s still got the whole world in his hands.”

Petra: “Whole World
Words and music by Bob Hartman
Star Song Records, 1986.

Hearts are failing left and right
Children fear this planet’s plight
Fatalistic fears abound
And take their toll without a sound
But through the vague uncertainty – comes a bold assurity
This world is under sovereignty – divinely ordered destiny
He holds this world together with the Word of His power
Safe within His hands – til its own appointed hour

(Chorus)
He’s still got the whole world in His hands – tonight
And only He knows where the sparrow lands – tonight
And nothing in this world can stop His plans – tonight
‘Cause He’s still got the whole world in His hands
In His hands tonight

Humanistic lies lament
The holocaust is imminent
Doomsday prophets in the news
Predicting who will light the fuse
The fate of His creation isn’t subject to a man
The final consummation is according to His plan

And He’s still got the whole world in His hands – tonight
And only He knows where the sparrow lands – tonight
And nothing in this world can stop His plans – tonight
‘Cause He’s still got the whole world in His hands
In His hands tonight

He’s still got you – He’s still got me in His hands tonight

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