Sunday, April 23, 2017
Sunday Afternoon Tea - When the World Seems Crazy
Recently I needed to run quite a few errands, taking me from my home in the northern part of the county to the far southern part of town and back. I decided the only way I could accomplish this feat and be home at a reasonable time was to take the new By-Pass. A road for which I've had a challenged relationship since it opened.
By taking the new By-Pass, I would cut my travel time by at least half. However, I've become lost taking it twice and the last time I was really lost. I mean, out in the middle of country roads lost. As it turned out, my husband had missed a turn at the same place and told me where I went wrong. Let's just say whoever put the traffic signs up should have been more specific.
So to save time, I decided to take the new road. After all, it would be good to stop avoiding it. Along the way I saw familiar places in the distance. When I crossed a bridge over the river and then saw a turn off for a familiar road, I could envision the house where my sister once lived not too far away. It was like finding a "You Are Here' sign at the Mall. I could envision a birds eye view of where I was from my house, from Bonnie's old house, the river, and if I took the correct turn... my destination.
Once I had a good idea where I was, I figured out I probably should stay in the left lane so I didn't miss that important turn off... yet, again. Then I had time to enjoy the scenery and ponder. Since it is a new road, there are no fast food signs, businesses, or entrances into factories. Instead one mostly passed by fields and forests with the occasional glimpse of the airport or a smokestack in the distance for a few miles.
I'm pleased to say after (finally) turning on the correct road... you know, the one with the misleading sign... I realized the road I was now on was exactly where I needed to be. The first stop in my errand was just a couple streets away. What is more, the next time I take that By-Pass, I won't be quite so apprehensive. Now that I know where the signs lead me.
Sometimes the changes in our world leave me as confused as that misleading sign. Instead of being where I planned, I'm lost in some outer part of Today where little looks as I once knew it. It's the same place in which I grew up but not the same world... and realizing that can make me tense and uncertain.
Oh, I'm not talking about Russian planes close to Alaska. It is just a reminder of the Cold War and those of us above a certain age grew up with news reports of Russia vs. America. My much older brother fought in the Korean war so that battle has been raging for decades. Albeit a whole lot more dangerous with nukes involved.
No, it is not even the wars and rumors of wars that are getting to me. It is the change in morality and what the church looks like. How those of us who take a more orthodox view of the Bible are deemed haters and if we are all for immigration but want people coming into the country to be vetted (as they always were), we do not care for homeless children in Syria.
We have let ourselves be defined by those who control the media but hate the church... and unfortunately sometimes it is even people within the church that throw stones at us. If one only knows a picture of the world by what they see on TV, in movies, or on social media...
The world seems to have lost its ever loving mind.
Recently I was reading through Romans 1:28-32 in the NIV but the Phillips translation (I believe that is what Elisabeth Elliot used) says it best...
Moreover, since they considered themselves too high and mighty to acknowledge God, he allowed them to become the slaves of their degenerate minds, and to perform unmentionable deeds. They became filled with wickedness, rottenness, greed and malice; their minds became steeped in envy, murder, quarrelsomeness, deceitfulness and spite.
They became whisperers-behind-doors, stabbers-in-the-back, God-haters; they overflowed with insolent pride and boastfulness, and their minds teemed with diabolical invention. They scoffed at duty to parents, they mocked at learning, recognized no obligations of honor, lost all natural affection, and had no use for mercy.
More than this—being well aware of God’s pronouncement that all who do these things deserve to die, they not only continued their own practises, but did not hesitate to give their thorough approval to others who did the same.
Reading these verses brought me peace. Ummm... those verses? The verses where we are told the world is going to go crazy? Yes! Because it means that... at this time and at this place... where God allowed you and me to be born... He knew it was going to go crazy.
For you see my friends, we are not to look at the past with longing. Actually, there were plenty of trials back then even when morality was more the norm and the average person at least respected the Ten Commandments. We are to look forward for this is the day for which we were created.
Whatever gifts you have been given, no matter how young or how old you are, you were born "for such a time as this". We are just passing through, we are pilgrims and sojourners in this land. We are, like Abraham, searching for the City whose Builder and Maker is God.
We are not to long for this world to be perfect, we are to long for that Perfection which is to come.
What are we to do now? Well, on one hand we are to stand by our orthodox values and not give in to what people want to manipulate us to believe just so people will like us. At the same time, we are to walk like Jesus walk... in love and not anger.
I know it is a balance remaining true to the Word in our beliefs but always defaulting to walking in Love. It has been done before and the One who managed to do it was stoned and crucified by those people for whom He gave so much love.
But He has given you a Place in this world, not only gifts but a real PLACE. Where you are living right this very moment. Draw near to Jesus and then ask how to show Him to this crazy messed up world. It will take every skill, every talent, every bit of wisdom and grace you have. Even then you will have to renew your strength every morning by spending time with Him and His Word.
Oh, I also suggest the occasional nap and perhaps coffee first thing in the morning. Just saying. Reality you know.
Image: Cotswolds Evening by Robert Duncan