A few weeks ago, I was in the front yard when I noticed a beautiful maple leaf that had recently fallen from a branch. I brought it back inside to place on my desk, not because it was lovely, although it was, but because it was both lovely and flawed.
Like so many leaves when they fall to the ground, it had tiny black spots in various places. They weren't even noticeable from a distance. I suppose the mood that day was particularly melancholy for that leaf reminded me of recent lessons learned... I must choose to enjoy the beauty not only in spite of the flaws but with them.
While this has definitely been the strangest year worldwide that I have known, I think the thick darkness has been hovering over the planet for awhile now. The tension has been escalating the past couple of years and now that another American election draws very near, one can cut the tension in the air with the proverbial knife.
I have not lived in a time when there is so much anger in the culture. It seems as if people get annoyed over nothing and then go into a full scale rant mode over the slightest difference of opinion. It has to have spiritual roots for it makes no sense at all.
I have studied Bible prophecy since I first read Hal Lindsey's Late Great Planet Earth circa 1970-ish. Some people call him a false prophet but as I was there when his book was a best seller, what I know is that we all were seeing through a glass darkly. I don't recall him ever setting dates but like many at the time, he thought the return of Christ was very soon.
Everyone was looking at Scripture from a cold war perspective at the time. It honestly did look like the history of the age was wrapping up and the players in that last great chapter were in alignment. Except they weren't. Instead, as the decades unfolded, so did our understanding of prophetic events.
I have begun to see what
the Bible says more clearly, especially in recent years. Much like
changing the focus on a camera from distant photos to seeing the object
closer up, that is what is going on with my Biblical perspective.
In the 1970s, in my wildest imaginations I could not have anticipated the world as it is today. Oh, I know there are inventions and new technology that would seem like Science Fiction to us in that decade. However, this is not what I'm thinking of at the moment. I could not have seen the social, moral, as well as political changes that have occurred.
I think a lot of us are undergoing a case of Future Shock unlike any past generation. My mother's generation saw great technological advances but there was not a lot of change in the culture of that generation. There were slight changes but nothing drastic. This is not the same world as it was just twenty years ago.
I have spent a lot of time thinking about what is happening in the world and how it affects my home. A lot of prayers for wisdom have been asked, as well as prayers for discernment. I am learning to be a representative of Christ in Facebook comments and not of the enemy of our souls.
I have learned that I do not need to watch political commentary, presidential debates, the evening news on national networks, and I now limit my news updates from only a couple well respected sources. We have all been overwhelmed with information overload.
There is a lie going around our culture that if one does not have their mind constantly on politics, then we will not be aware of what is going on in the world. In Christian circles, we are often told that we need to be aware what is going on to know how to pray. Not true!
Unless we live in a place off grid with no communication from the outside world... we know enough. We know how to pray and for whom to pray. We know the players both minor and major in our own countries and worldwide. Many of us can tell you what it all means as far as Bible prophecy.
All we will receive from a continual diet of news, in whatever form we receive it, is the knowledge that our peace is being ripped from us one news bite at a time. The world has lost its' mind and the enemy of our souls wants us to lose not only our peace but our minds as well.
I watch the local news early in the morning where I will be told the latest happenings I need to know about locally as well as the local weather forecast. Then I only will watch a news channel if there is a very significant news event happening. I'm not missing anything. Really. Honestly. Life can go on without me knowing every little detail of the news.
Now, if you are called by God to be in the midst of the battle in the Culture Wars, then you will not be wearied by too much news. You will grow stronger as the battle rages and God will give you wisdom, courage, and discernment for your role in this time and place in history.
I have been there previously but not now. I no longer have the strength for what it takes to be in the midst of the culture wars. That is not to say that those of us who are not physically strong are to set on the sidelines. We can pray, and talk without arguing, and we can vote.
I have always believed that every American should vote and I will on election day. When my kids were both little, I took them in the voting booth with me and explained how fortunate we are to live in a country where we get to vote. So, of course, I will be voting on November 3rd.
Besides praying for the country as well as those closest to me, I am reading the Word (especially Psalms), reading and/or listening to good books, listening to music that lifts my faith, watching some good movies, and choosing to keep my mind filled with the good stuff of life. Like the beauty of the forest in Autumn.
I am waking up early to enjoy a cup of coffee with a cat curled up on the flannel housecoat. I am baking bread and cinnamon rolls and pumpkin bars to serve those I love. I am making soups and stews and chili and casseroles and other hearty meals now that the weather has turned cooler again.
I have come to realize that what happens to the world does not rest on my shoulders. My prayers, along with the prayers of fellow Christians throughout the world, matter a great deal. Voting is important for all of us who live in a country where we choose leadership. Together we must form a solid Body of Christ against the enemy of our souls.
What happens if those who believe in a more socialist form of government get elected? Honestly, I can't let my mind go there but I do know that God has this whatever the outcome of the election. The world is not going to end on November 4th in the United States. Although it is a good idea to have put back food and supplies in case there are riots as some have anticipated.
We must always remember that this planet is still in a fallen state and we cannot expect perfection. Not, yet. There will come a day when Jesus is going to return and all we have longed for will be fulfilled. That will not be hindered by the outcome of any election, one way or another.
Hug someone you love. Bake cookies or bread or something else that smells delicious. Drink good coffee. Life is too short for bad coffee. Stop for afternoon tea, even if you are alone. Your attitude is your choice. Choose life.
As for that leaf, it is here in front of me as I type. It is a daily reminder that this world is both beautiful and flawed and that is okay. We can look past the flaws of this world and see all of the Beauty He has created. It is just a tiny little glimpse into the future when all will be made perfect.