Across the Pastor’s Desk: Shelter in the shadow of the Almighty

Published 8:00 pm Friday, October 21, 2022

Across the Pastor’s Desk by Nancy Overgaard

If you are as distressed as I am about the lawlessness plaguing our once Christian nation, you may be searching for signs of encouragement as I have been. But, will you find any? And where?

Nancy Overgaard

Until recently, lawlessness was a word I was familiar with only because I had read it in the Bible. Lately, however, it is a word used almost nightly in the news to refer to a spike in car-jackings, murders, smash and grab robberies, unprovoked assaults against innocent bystanders and more.

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As I prepared for a recent road trip, I had to take lawlessness into account. I had to wonder about the wisdom of traveling alone, even though I have done it many times in the past. Once I decided to go, I had to factor in how to protect myself against crimes like robbery and random violence said to occur even in broad daylight, and carjacking, said to occur often at gas stations. Sadly, one strategy had to be to plan a route that would avoid an increasing number of large cities. 

As I packed, I silently thanked God that I am blessed to live in a relatively safe area, only to be jarred by local news about a car stolen from a gas station in nearby Clarks Grove, a town with a population of 694 in 2020. The same week there was local news about two drive-by shootings, one of them on a street I walked down daily to and from school as a child.

In the search for good news amid the bad, I unexpectedly found some on my road trip. As I drove south through Iowa into Missouri, I felt like I had stepped back in time as I passed by multiple churches in every community, as well as several Christian schools and colleges. I felt it again as I listened to Christian radio through southern Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee, and as I attended a Christian seminar in North Carolina. I suddenly felt like I was back in a Christian nation, secure and protected from lawlessness, comforted as I passed by prominently displayed crosses where I knew I would find law-abiding people if I needed help or safety of any kind. 

One dark, rainy night, unsure of my directions, I pulled into a parking lot with a large lighted cross to get my bearings. Even though it was late at night and the parking lot was empty, I felt safer in the shadow of the cross as I tried to find my way. Later, at the seminar, I enjoyed the security of being surrounded by Christians and the respite from lawlessness, even if temporary. So, one bit of good news is that there are oases even in a world of increasing lawlessness. 

There is also stunningly good news found right alongside shockingly bad news about lawlessness in the Bible. The bad news is that, at some period in history, unknown to us, lawlessness can be expected to escalate beyond anything experienced in human history. Moreover, God will no longer restrain evil or grant any more temporary reprieves as he has graciously done in the past (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12). Even worse, many believe we are living in that period.

Yet, even when evil and lawlessness are at their very worst, Christians can still take heart. For unrestrained lawlessness is a sign of the imminent return of Christ when, in an instant, he will put a final end to all evil and all who do evil (2 Thess. 2:8). Meanwhile, we can find comfort in the company of other Christians, seek shelter “in the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1) and do our part to “shine like the brightness of the heavens” by living godly lives and leading others to do what is right through faith and commitment to Christ (Daniel 12:3, Philippians 2:15).

Nancy Overgaard is a member of the Freeborn County Ministerial Association.