Media-Induced Emotional Whiplash

I spend a fair amount of time on news websites and social media. It’s a never-ending stream of information and articles about such benign things as a new restaurant opening, to terrible things such as tragedies happening to children, to wonderful, heart-warming stories. The other day, in the span of five minutes, I read about things going on in Washington that gave me hope, things that definitely lessened my sense of hope, the upcoming heat wave, the ongoing baby formula shortage, as well as a sweet story about a boy named Brandon from Minnesota. Any of you all who read, watch, or listen to the news may have experienced this same whiplash. Despair, joy, hope, fear, all in the span of a matter of minutes.

It then occurred to me that perhaps I am too emotionally invested in the news, because my hope is misplaced. By placing my total confidence and trust in humanity, I become excited or despondent about the future of our nation and the world at large based upon what humans do. But as Christians, we’re called to place our ultimate hope and trust in God. It is God who is working through all of creation for the greater good, and we’re just here for an infinitesimal amount of time. Humans do wonderful and awful things, but if you look at the trajectory of humanity, I do believe we are trending in the right direction. God sees the whole picture, we see a very small part of that picture painted by the news.

Place your hope and trust in God, not humanity. Be not swayed by any joyful or tragic story you read. Take it all in stride, and remember the words to this hymn that we recently sang, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ love and righteousness; I dare not trust this earthly frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.”

Scripture:  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)

Prayer Focus: For people who watch the news

Prayer: We wish you were the newspaper editor or the nightly news producer, O God. Help us to consume the news through our lens as Christians, trusting that you’ve got it all in hand, so that we might be completely emotionally invested in you, and not the news story we just heard. Amen.