If you have been watching the news, you have probably been stunned by the plethora of natural disasters around the world. Floods, fires, and earthquakes seem to be slamming into our comfort zones with increasing regularity and intensity. So much widespread suffering and no part of the world appears able to claim to be exempt.
Those living near infrastructure allowing for almost immediate aid are the fortunate ones. Many aren’t as fortunate.
To whom, or what, do we attribute this mounting chaos? The small print on our airline ticket receipt speaks of “acts of God”. Some prefer to give the devil credit since destruction is his calling card. Others would inform us that climate change is the source of our current disasters…but who is the manager on duty over the climate, anyway?
The concept of temporary pain to achieve a greater good is one we are accepting of when we are on the dishing out end of the equation. We generally understand the value of disciplining our children so they don’t stick their little fingers in electrical outlets, run heedlessly out into the street after stray balls, or give free rein to their tempers and consequently never keep a job or long-term relationship.
We too can be brave and subject ourselves to such treatment by dieting, reducing our spending, or other plans involving temporary sacrifice to achieve the desired goal.
Can we further expand our thinking to consider that God is at work on a global scale, with purposes that eclipse our temporary comfort, and that will end in great good? Please hear me – in absolutely no way do I mean to minimize anyone’s pain or loss, and my heart breaks for those whose lives have been ransacked by a disaster. The destruction people have suffered is staggering, and my heart breaks for them. I simply suggest that for a moment, we look beyond it.
Many followers of Jesus, and I among them, believe things are wrapping up down here – that it won’t be much longer before Christ returns and this world comes to an end.
But between our present chaotic reality and that much-anticipated event, there is something holding back the hand of God from giving the signal that the Time has finally come.
It could be you.
You see, the heart of God has been revealed to us through the life of His Son, Jesus, who at great personal cost came to seek and save those separated from Him by sin. He longs for every person to be reconciled to Himself through Jesus, and to that end, He labors.
C.s. Lewis famously said,
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
If the whispered and the gently spoken messages are ignored, God will employ the megaphone and shout.
He is not shouting that individual pain doesn’t matter; He is shouting that there are worse things than losing our home and possessions, or even our health. Jesus asked, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?”
Jesus once told a story to help people understand what God is like. In it, He told of a shepherd who was willing to leave his 99 sheep safe together while he risked life and limb to climb down sharp rocks and steep mountainsides to hunt for one frightened, lost lamb. He is still willing to go to uncomfortable measures to find the one that is separated from Him. And then to do it again for the next one.
He is shouting that He exists to a world that has largely ignored Him. If we will admit He is there, we are in a position to take the next step and begin the conversation with Him that He is longing to start, the one that can end with our adoption into His family and our name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, giving us a home in Heaven forever.
Sometimes His methods may affect us in ways we don’t like, understand, or approve of. Can we be humble enough to accept that His efforts, motivated by love, will, in the end, be worth whatever they cost?
My prayer is that individuals of every race and tribe the world over would respond to His whispers and join the epic love story that was written before time began. And for those who did not hear the whisper, that they would respond to the shouts.
The Bible says our lives here are a fleeting vapor. It’s ironic – what in reality is as ephemeral as a bit of passing mist FEELS like an eternity to those who live it moment by moment, and yet we have no real concept of eternity – it’s simply too vast for our brains to wrap around.
Our very temporal lives here feel eternal, yet at the next breath, you or I could step over into the real world that we have only seen hints of.
Friend, if you don’t know the God who pursues you every way He can, I urge you to change that today. He is waiting with arms wide open.
May the Lord bless you today with more of Himself. May He grant wisdom and insight to His people that we may know Him and effectively make Him known to a questioning world.
With faith, hope, and love,