Drinking from Fire Hydrants

Drinking from Fire Hydrants

Ornate downtown storefronts in small town in the MidwestIn 1979, when we first moved to Bozeman, the police reports were comical and often ridiculous. For example, officers were summoned when a porcupine became stuck in someone’s spare tire! Even this week the report said a deputy responded to an anonymous call about a sad dog that howled a lot. “The deputy found the dog to be healthy-looking.” Seeming trifles, yet over the past few decades more serious crimes have increased in our area.

Even so, what if your town or suburb was the limit of your concern? Think of a ten-mile radius around your home or apartment. How many tragedies, crimes, and community problems would you endure over your lifetime? Maybe a few murders, a score of petty thefts, several suicides, a few businesses going bankrupt, some accidental deaths and crop failures. More than a stuck porcupine or a howling dog, but not more than you could handle.

A hundred years ago, that would’ve been normal life.

tv news media backgroundThe truth is, our sphere of reality is far greater now. Advances in technology and media have brought a boatload of problems into our living rooms—every day, all day. And as Christians, it’s as though we are asked to care and give money and pray for the whole world. As someone said, it’s like trying to sip some water from a fire hydrant.

But how many problems are we really designed to handle?

Some would argue that modern people have developed an ability to cope with many things at the same time. Yet, consider the fact that 60% of Americans are sleep deprived with emotional stress as the primary cause. Also, 70-85% of all disease and illness is stress-related. By 1990, (following the birth of the Internet, I might add), the World Health Organization called stress, “a global epidemic.” In the last three decades, life has become increasing complex.

24 NewsSo with that in mind, a few days ago I read an online article by J. Lee Grady titled, “The United States is Not the center of the universe.” He wrote about Boko Haram’s mass killings in Nigeria. Then he reported that Islamic terrorists linked to the group Al Shabaab murdered four Christians in Kenya. One of the believers was beheaded.

My heart pounded in my chest. A knot formed in my gut. My breathing changed.

Grady’s tone turned sarcastic. “The major networks were talking nonstop about Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and the Iowa presidential caucus—along with the controversy stirred by Beyoncé’s new music video…Foreign problems are just too stressful to think about. And too far away. Besides, we have a Super Bowl to watch…”

He ended by saying, “Please be a global Christian.”

Pulse of the worldHis plea struck me hard. I was moved, and yet at the same time—frustrated. Part of me wanted to vent. “God! All the problems of the world? It’s more than I can handle…”


How does one stay informed, care, give money, and serve others in light of continual tragedies and concerns going on in today’s world, much less our own communities.

It slaps a new version of the Martha syndrome on me.

As I wrestled with Grady’s challenge to be a global Christian, I came across his current article in Charisma Magazine titled, “Don’t Let Negative News Steal Your Joy.”

Graphical digital world backgroundHe wisely reminded that, “God calls us to walk in supernatural peace, love and joy no matter what is happening in the world.” Then he listed some amazing things that haven’t made the headlines:

–Muslims are coming to Christ faster than ever before.

–China is being transformed by the gospel and will likely be a Christian nation by 2030.

–The U.S. is in a church-planting boom and 60-80% of the people joining are from unchurched backgrounds.

–Latin America is experiencing a political and spiritual awakening.

–Spiritual hunger is rising in our nation.

–Global violence is decreasing—the numbers have never been lower, even with terrorism.

–There are fewer dictators in the world as democracy is growing: 90 in 1976, and now only 25.

–The Bible is still the most popular and widely distributed book of all time.

–Jesus is still on the throne and God is moving behind the scenes.

Read his article for the stunning details.

“Thank you J. Lee Grady,” I whispered.

Happy New YearI want to be a global Christian. I realized it’s important to be informed with the good news of what God is doing to keep perspective with the negative reports on most newscasts. I can pray for situations I hear about, but also release them to God. I can give money to organizations that prove worthy and have a history of providing relief in situations of desperation. And I can ask God what He wants me to do—or more importantly—what not to do. For a person with a Martha-like propensity, hearing God’s voice is vital.

How do you stay in balance? Write your thoughts here…


  1. susan, this is the most important thing we should remember . . . the word gospel means good news. that’s something god has been reminding me lately. your post is exactly, to me, all about that! i love it. because the nightly NEWS is the opposite of the GOOD news for sure. and what that mr. grady wrote about IS some of the good news. i attempt to repeat scriptures about “casting all our care upon him….” and “be anxious in nothing….” and “leaning not unto my own understanding…” plus all the things in the bible that point us to the act of TRUSTING GOD! with his help we can do this. it is available, not easy, but it brings peace. and there you have my 2 cents worth!

    thank you for this one.
    suzee B

    • Suzee…I agree. Have to look for the sources of good news like J. Lee Grady’s blogs and articles. Google “Fire In My Bones” to find his blog. Also there is news in Voice of the Martyrs, World Magazine (Weekly Magazine from Christian worldview), and some articles in Charisma Magazine and Relevant. But you are absolutely right, that the bottomline is believing that God is still in charge, He is not up for election, and He’s omnipotent, omniscient, and full of lovingkindness.