The short-term forecast is dismal – many more days of 105+ heat. Yet, I have lived long enough to know, the weather will moderate, delight, and then bring blustery gusts of freezing temperatures. Reports of riots in London, financial downturns, upheavals in the Middle East, and our own decade-long war against terrorism coupled with all the news I get of my friends’ problems and trials are as potent arrows that worry and wound me. I feel as powerless as one impaled by a volley of them. I am as powerless!
The only power I have is deciding what I will do with what is my portion of life. And then, doing it. I can’t change the weather, quell rioters, or save the world from its folly and cruelty; I can’t protect any one from life’s “reproofs” – whether they are broken transmissions and water pumps, illnesses, old age, or Christians’ failures to act like Christians -- probably the most painful of all.
So, why can’t I remember that? Why do I spend [so much] time critiquing, kibitzing and worrying? (Matt 6:25-34)
Probably because it is still easier to cluck like some mad hen over other stuff than settle down and tend my own nest.
You and I live in times that are important as those proceeding the Great Depression, World War I and II. Our rulers and leaders are much as those were who lead people into and through those dreadful times. What’s somewhat different is the 24/7 news reporting. We also live in times when many of us don’t have family, farms, or faith to sustain us when we lose our jobs or health. And the 24/7 news reporting can underscore our helplessness. Are we really only expendable [nameless] cogs in a mighty machine of worldwide destruction?
God, I hope not!
Is that hope in a meaning, purpose and power that is greater than myself, and those around me, just wishful thinking? Is faith in God nothing but an evolutionary adaptation that keeps men from giving up?
Does the squirrel that wrecks my flower garden imagine a creator who hides acorns just for it?
I wasn’t created to be a commentator on God’s ways – or yours. But, I can communicate His grace. (Isaiah 55) I can tell you – and me -- cooler days are coming to Dallas, for they always have; at the same time I must tell you and myself, today is all we have. And too many are dying without knowing the Creator God who gives them a hope and a future: Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene . . . (Isaiah 59:15-16)
Living in air-conditioned comfort today, knowing where I have a bit of food and a change of clothes, and having time to reflect on the Scriptures is an mind-blowing blessing, then, isn’t it? How will I spend it?
I was at a loss for words when a young disabled girl in Bangalore, India told me, "My aunt said I would have to go through eight reincarnations before I could become a whole person." A doctor from New Delhi said, "Most people do not consider autistic children to be human." On that same trip while I was in Africa, I met mothers who were beaten because they gave birth to a child who was blind or disabled. A man told me his cerebral-palsied sister was left out in the jungle for the animals to take; "My parents thought it would appease the animist spirits," he said. In Southeast Asia I met people who thought disabilities were "curses from the shamans in the village." My heart broke when several disabled women told me they were "easy targets for abuse."
Isaiah lamented, "Truth is nowhere to be found... Is there no one to intervene?" This is the commission God has given us. Jesus is "the way, the truth and the life" (John 14:6). When we follow his way and carry the truth into the dark corners of the world, we bring light, hope and deliverance. Jesus tells the truth about everything; from the atonement to autism, from the resurrection to rickets, from sanctification to spina bifida.
"So my counsel is: Don't worry about things-food, drink, and clothes . . . [Your] heavenly Father already knows perfectly well that you need them, and he will give them to you if you give him first place in your life and live as he wants you to."So don't be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time. (Matt 6:25-34TLB)
Whether you and I put this hope -- that God will care for us -- to good use is wholly our choice.
Lord, I believe – help Thou my unbelief – and please send me. (Mark 9:24; Isaiah 6)