You have to agree; this world and everything swirling around us— it’s pretty darn overwhelming. Crazy. Yet, for some reason, it doesn’t seem surprising to anyone you ask.
This may sound horrible, but I pray you’ll know I’m not feeling the slightest bit nonchalant. Humbly, I recognize there is much I do not know or understand and I’m nowise exempt from the problems or the solutions.
However, there persists a strange stirring within, compelling me to confess that I DO KNOW there’s so much more God wants me to understand about Him and the world we’re living in. I’m certain He wants everyone to know things that go far deeper than the next bold font, attention grabbing headline.
There’s been another major earthquake..have you heard? If you’re like most, it’s registered somewhere near the bottom of the personal “Richter scale”. That’s someplace else, you know.
Closer to home, earthshaking violence and unrest plays itself out in the latest case of “Us vs. Them”. That’s a little more personal. However, the real Source of rescue is easily missed since the discussion is taking place only on the surfaces of the issues. Despite the fact that tremors are constantly being felt, the shifting fault lines beneath are largely ignored in favor of pointing out the swaying institutions threatening to topple on us if “something” isn’t done, heard or paid homage to in the way of direct legislation.
Trying to maintain our composure as a society, we stumble and reel like a drunken sailor swaying from rail to rail not sure where our next steps should land because the foundations are shifting beneath us, threatening to give way.
Instead, foolishly, we paint on smiles and catching our refection in the marketplace windows we pause for another selfie or a picture of our latest pair of cute shoes marching off to nowhere fast.
I confess, I am quietly thankful for the earthquakes in Nepal. Quietly. Furthermore, I am cautiously grateful for the unrest in our nation. Cautiously. Because there are some things the human race needs to talk about.
Dear Lord knows… not because these are good things in and of themselves, but I am thankful because as human beings and, from my perspective, as Christians — representing the “Big-C” Church of Jesus Christ, something has to wake and shake us from our apathy.
Of course, it’s easy to say such things sitting in the comfort of my home, warm and dry with a belly full of breakfast. I’m humbled by the real pain attached to these events that I’ll never fully comprehend. I swear, I’m checking my privilege right now.
Because last week I watched this story from Nepal about a Church whose members were worshipping —celebrating communion— when the earthquake struck. Their Pastor lamented the tremendous loss of life but bravely confessed he’s not worried for the members of his church or family— their eternity is secure in Jesus Christ. The thousands who died without hope— they haunt him most. His church’s mission now— is to help rebuild yes, AND to show the love of Jesus while sharing the Gospel, setting the example of how to live a life of loving their neighbors.
There’s the story of a Constable in a remote village, astounded by the delivery of 800 bags of rice and relief supplies brought in by Baptist Global Response. Then…there’s Miriam, a leper woman who has no legs and wouldn’t leave her home when the earthquake happened.
Instead she grabbed her Bible and began to read and pray.
She’s reading and praying today just as she was in the days before the earthquake while others are worshipping— feeding and bathing— statues representing their thousands of pagan gods and goddesses in centuries-old temples.
Today, many of those temples and historic landmarks have been crushed and reduced to dust. But the church of Jesus Christ… bruised though it may be, is rising up from the rubble and wrapping a towel around it’s waist to serve as His people are rush in to share whatever love and help they have to give.
For that.. I am thankful.
Closer to home, the deep injustice and chaos swirling around our communities is only a hint of what’s to come as still more anger and unrest simmers beneath the surface in hundreds of other places around the country.
No matter what position you choose to take if you look carefully and honestly at the center of it all, the unrest is not simply about gender identification, marijuana, marriage, color, culture or dollar signs. It’s rooted in a loss of something much deeper than cultural identity or loss of personal and mutual respect. Far worse— we are a nation increasingly anchored in nothingness with savagery and thugging on every level, born out of a void that exists within— because God remains unacknowledged .
Compromise by compromise, God was expelled from many facets of society with no room in the Inn, as generations increasingly embrace the secular humanism espoused all around. No longer is there a glorious difference between male and female or a moral absolute holding the line within us so we can hold the line around us. And without God, there’s nothing solid to work from to explain the beauty and difference of truth over lie and right over wrong. Life can no longer be valued as sacred at any age, race, color or creed because many no longer value being created in the image of God.
Why should we care?
Why does it matter at all?
If you believe the headlines regarding the rapid growth of atheism and paganism, then to the average person, there’s no need to care because it doesn’t matter. Not really. And if it does…why?
What is the value of human life and loss —whether, it’s one on the wrong side of a gun or thousands crushed at once— if it’s anchored to nothingness?
Worse…what is the value of something or someone if it’s value is anchored only in itself? If it’s gone, then won’t something else take it’s place? Isn’t that good enough?
But we, who believe in God and fully believe “in the beginning” He created heavens, earth, all that is in them and then…made us in His IMAGE, (who we are)— male and female— created in His LIKENESS, (what we do)…” (Lorretta paraphrase) we know there’s something more. Which leaves us with the glaring questions:
What then are we going to do about it?
How then, shall we live? (Schaeffer)
Whatever it is we’re supposed to be doing, it doesn’t seem like the memo has made it’s way into the “little-c” church most of us know, which seems to be more concerned with maintaining it’s rapidly declining status quo than recognizing it has lost it’s way.
The church that’s forgotten it was built on small, intimate moments with a very Big God and instead, spends itself on cultivating a big Self-image and forgetting that bigger buildings, bigger numbers/attendance, bigger noise, programs and pulpit does not equal our bigger God. Sadly we’ve become no more than a collection of people coming in ritualistic obedience to “feed and bathe” and pay homage to our god… who seems to look a lot more like us than we do Him…even to the dying world around us.
The answers here are the same in Nepal…and anywhere. Like the pastor interviewed said, we who understand that our eternity is secure and who find our hope and identity in Christ…we must be troubled and heartbroken— haunted by the loss of life and the lack of eternal hope.
We must fall on our faces in repentance, clinging to the truth we profess and then rise up and rush in to share whatever love and help we have to give. To model, to mentor and to help fill the void in our communities with the presence of God in and through us. To recognize that Jesus came and never once preached a sermon he didn’t back up with a moment of sweat-equity…all the way to the cross and we, created in His image…must follow His example.
It’s not fatalistic to recognize that there will be other earthquakes and natural disasters, more injustice and chaos to follow. Jesus said the last days would be this way. But take heart…. Keep focus because HE has overcome the world and as long as we are willing, God is going to use us to keep overcoming.
As with Miriam, a little leper woman, beautifully created in the image of her Savior and God… serving Him as she can one faithful moment at a time.
**.. Francis A. Schaeffer (1912-1984), The Mark of the Christian, Inter-Varsity Press, 1976,
Linking with Leticia at Embracing His Will!