Mar 22 2007
The day is coming. And I’m not only referring to the day Jesus returns. America is a very proud country. As the days go by, more and more of us are ending up further and further away from Jesus. That is not God’s desire. After all, Jesus tells us that He came to seek and save what was lost (Luke 19:10). If that is His aim, we can imagine that He will see it through to completion. Roy Hession, in his little gem of a book We Would See Jesus (1958), says it this way:
“If an aeroplane designer designs a plane to fly at a certain altitude and finds that it will not leave the ground, he will bend every effort to make that plane do that for which he designed it. So does God bend every effort to bring us back to Himself.”
I imagine God employs many methods to bring us back to Himself. One of the most powerful He uses, as a last resort, is calamity. Calamity on grand scale. It’s all over the place in the Old Testament, so I don’t think it would be fair to accuse me of being unbiblical.
I was driving down the road, taking my brothers to the airport today and wondered what would happen if our economy suddenly came to a grinding halt. What if some nuclear attack happened? What if the bird flu went berzerk? What if the financial markets collapsed because of some hedge fund that had done something illegal? I tried to imagine how I could reduce my exposure to such an event because, certainly, no one would need IT work done then. People would be in survival mode on the most basic of levels. The result of any of those catastrophies would be devastating on all our lives.
America today is affluent enough that we don’t think God is necessary. It’s only when most of us get backed into a corner that we cry out for help to Him. So, tell me…what happens when God removes His hand of blessing from us? (Let me be clear that God owes us NOTHING! Any thing that we have in our life, including our breath, is a gift of grace from Him. We may not acknowledge it as such, but that’s the way it is). What happens when He removes His hand? Now all of a sudden, there are millions of people without any hope. Where do they turn? They would turn to God. Even though they may not have a conception of what god they’re calling out to, they would call. It is during these times of calamity that true Christ-followers would be roused from their spiritual slumber and begin coming alongside their neighbors and explaining theology to them – letting them know that affluence isn’t the reason God created us. Knowing HIM is the reason we were made. And that opportunity is available through the forgiveness of sins in Christ. Having a changed heart that desires the good of other people is available through Christ.
Calamity may be physically uncomfortable but it is often spiritually fruitful. If it is the only way God can get our attention (after He’s exhausted all other avenues), can we really think it will be too much longer before He allows broad-scale calamity to strike our nation? If His aim is to bring us back to Himself and nothing else will work, won’t He strip us of everything to show us that all we have is Him? I think so. And I think the day may be close. Christ may not return for thousands of years, but what if our nation is close to trouble?
My fellow Christ-follower, are you ready? Have you steeled yourself for hardship? Are you ready to proclaim the love of God to humanity in Christ? If God’s aim is to bring people back to Himself, are WE employing our lives toward His end?