When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. (Mark 13:7)
In 1938, a simple radio program caused notorious alarm in America. On the night before Halloween, actor Orson Welles narrated a dramatic adaptation of H. G. Wells’ novel The War of the Worlds (1898), structured as a news broadcast reporting a Martian invasion of Earth. The realistic-sounding news bulletin led some listeners to believe that the alien invasion was real. Although historians debate the extent of the resulting panic, the program made a large enough impact to inspire a federal investigation into the responsibility of the media to distinguish real from fake news.
On December 7, 1941, a true invasion took place—but the enemy was from Earth, not Mars. The Japanese attack on the US naval base in Pearl Harbor created another form of panic across the country. Americans became suspicious of each other, especially of those from Japanese, German, and Italian descent. Over ten times more Japanese-Americans than German-Americans, however, were held in US prison camps during World War II.
Jesus urged his followers not to panic when they hear disturbing news, for global conflicts indicate the beginning of prophetic fulfillment, not the end. According to God’s timetable, the final end could be minutes or centuries ahead. Our best course of action is to pray and rest in Christ’s peace—not to overreact, fall into hysteria, or turn on others.
Use today’s news headlines as a prayer list.
Laura Hurd is an ordained minister in The Wesleyan Church and holds a master’s degree from Wesley Seminary. She co-pastors with her husband, Jason, in rural Nebraska.
© 2020 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.