The last verse of that song goes like this:
"Bring some message in your head
Or in something you can't lose
But don't you ever bring me no bad news
If you're gonna bring me something
Bring me, something I can use
But don't you bring me no bad news"
I can remember seeing the Wiz on Broadway, many years ago--when Stephanie Mills played the role of Dorothy...that's how long ago, it was! And, I remember the supposed frustration of Evillene as she shuttled her weary body back and forth across the stage belting out, "Don't Nobody Bring Me NO Bad News! You knew she meant it; she was tired and fed up. I am, too. But, with all of that earthly weariness, there is a side of me that sees all that is going on in the world and knows it's a good sign of things to come. Before the sun, there is a profound darkness. That darkness has settled upon the earth and those of us who inhabit it. But, the Son changes my personal atmosphere of gloom and doom, into hope and light.
Bad news is not a surprise, it just begins to weary me, after so much bad news gets piled on top of other bad news, day after day. But, it is written: You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!
Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived. But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught.
You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. [2 Timothy 3:1-5; 12-17, NLT]
Paul wrote this letter to Timothy approximately 2,000 years ago--that was the beginning of "the last days". It is abundantly clear that we are now at the end of those days. I know our redemption is nigh. And, that knowledge gives me hope.
These "days" are treacherous. I know that argument: "Guns don't kill people; people kill people", but without semi-automatic weapons , in the hands of those people, a lot less killing could happen. We no longer know how to resolve conflict--conflict gets "resolved" by the biggest gun. Every segment of society has some guilt to bear--politicians, attorneys, police officers and the general public. Add to that, terrorists strapping bombs to their bodies, in the hopes of a heaven with 72 virgins. Of course, that is a myth perpetrated by terrorist leaders to manipulate young people into committing heinous acts (that, by the way, they won't commit themselves). It is a myth. "Heaven in the Islamic faith does not include 72 wide-eyed sex goddesses. The number ‘72’ does not appear anywhere in the Quran. Nor does the word “suicide” (intihar in Arabic) appear, which is a word used interchangeably with martyrdom.
The confusion that exists arises over one oral tradition by Imam Tirmidhi. He cleverly crafted the “72 virgins” that has now become instilled in the minds of radicalized and misinformed Muslim men. The real tragedy is that so few scholars have accepted that this controversy exists or have failed to challenge the misinterpreted verse “of the 72 virgins” in the Quran."
I'm so glad that I know that Heaven's promises are not based on what I do, but on what has been done for me! It is so true that people are destroyed for "the lack of knowledge". Not studying or making one's self aware, is a killer. So many young people have died and killed many others in an attempt to please God, but have most likely awakened in hell (awaiting the Lake of Fire), not Abraham's Bosom (Paradise).
The news, almost everyday, has a new tragedy. Every week seems to "wax worse and worse". The current political campaign in the US, is not exempt from "bad news", either. It has been the most vitriolic and contentious campaign in our nation's history. In my opinion, there are no good options--in fact, both are frightening. But, I have good news!
It doesn't matter who will be elected president, or how much worse things will become, if you belong to God. He knows those who belong to Him, and He has provided us with a hope beyond the grave! And, while we pilgrim through this barren, evil land, He gives us peace beyond any human understanding. I thank God for the insulation of the Holy Spirit. I thank God for His awesome gift of grace--I only need the faith to believe in the finished work of the Cross...and He even provides that (faith). It's the only reason I can have a song in my heart, and a smile on my face. It's knowing that whatever happens to this body of flesh, I (the real me) will live forever, in His presence with joy. There will be no pain, evil or bad news to mar my eternity with Him. That's what keeps me going. You see, for me, living in this world is a bit of a paradox, because being a born-again Christian is kind of like living in two worlds, sometimes. While I must remain focused on God, I have to "occupy" faithfully. I'm yearning and groaning for Heaven, but I must be productive in the earth.
Some days, it is more difficult than others to focus on the Author and Finisher of my faith, because of all of the sorrow, persecution of Christians around the world, and even the presumptuous behavior of American Christians who think we have it made, while we fill ourselves with the decadence of this world. I'm reminded of these words: "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. [1 John 2:15-17, KJV]
The Amplified Bible breaks it down like this: " Do not love the world [of sin that opposes God and His precepts], nor the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust and sensual craving of the flesh and the lust and longing of the eyes and the boastful pride of life [pretentious confidence in one’s resources or in the stability of earthly things]—these do not come from the Father, but are from the world. The world is passing away, and with it its lusts [the shameful pursuits and ungodly longings]; but the one who does the will of God and carries out His purposes lives forever." I think, that it has been made clear how we must journey through this land--unencumbered by the things of this world--yet, occupying our time here wisely, sharing the Good News of Christ and salvation. Living by grace--and not our own works. Still, a life of faith will bear fruitful works. While our works do not save us, they will cause others to see the love and presence of Christ, in us--and that wins souls. But, we cannot work hard enough or good enough to earn Heaven. Salvation is a gift, bought and paid for (in full) at Calvary. No earning, just believing, and receiving!
It is the hope of Jesus Christ and eternity with Him, that makes all of this "bad news" bearable. I look beyond the news of the day, to eternity. Time is merely a pebble thrown into eternity to provide us a chance to prepare for the real life that God has for all of us who believe. It's merely a drop in the bucket, compared to the things He has in store for us. Be ready! There is a day when there will be "no bad news", if you choose Him. I don't know about you, but I can't wait!
I'm "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ".