<![CDATA[[caption id="attachment_2460" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Are our lives built on Jesus? Will we be anchors in the storm?[/caption]
““Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”” -Jesus (Matthew 7:24-27)This week there certainly has been no shortage of excitement here in Virginia and the East Coast. With a rare (but minor) earthquake echoing up the coast earlier in the week and Hurricane Irene threatening to make historic landfall from North Carolina to New York and beyond- there is a collective moment of anxiety as we prepare for the worst and pray for the best. Thankfully, here in Central Virginia we are out of the projected path but most likely will still feel it’s effects. The unexpected earthquake a few days ago and now the approaching hurricane reminds me of the economic crisis that has been unfolding in our nation and around the world. With the earthquake- though it created very little obvious devastation up front, it was sudden with no warning and it was felt by many. It sent many people into a panic. Out of it emerged some fundamental questions about the stability of our structures and our ability to respond to the crisis. It set many people on edge- while others scoffed at the minimal impact of the quake. Foundations and walls were cracked and major iconic structures (like the National Cathedral and the Washington Monument in Washington D.C.) were closed because of the damage caused by the shaking. Maybe I just have a metaphorical mind- but I see many parallels between this earthquake and the beginning of the current economic recession/depression. Beyond this shaking- we have a massive, approaching economic storm- a converging crisis. We know it’s coming though we pray for mercy. Like Hurricane Irene- many of us are tracking it’s path, reordering our priorities, seeking shelter or reinforcing where we are, opening our doors to family and friends in need, preparing provisions, and for many- evacuating a life that once made sense in fair weather and clear skies- but now is clearly foolish to maintain. But panic and apathy, anxiety and naive optimism are to be guarded against and all of us must seek GOD’s wisdom for how we should respond in the coming days. In all this I am not merely talking about storing up food and stockpiling supplies- I am talking about how we are preparing our hearts for the coming days. Maybe you don’t believe anything is coming down the tracks- but I believe (as do many) that we are on the verge of a season of volatility that will increase with the continual decline of our economy. The mythology of an economic recovery has only served to blind us – to deceive us into maintaining business as usual. But we can no longer live with a blind eye toward the horizon. It’s time to seek insight and discernment from the Holy Spirit. In times of crisis the reality of our faith is tested. If we encounter hardship and suffering will we be offended at GOD- or will we trust Him and continually ‘put His words into practice’? Will we be people of love and peace and mercy- will we be anchors in the storm?- able to help those around us or will we be swept away in fear and self-seeking because we find our hearts did not truly trust the LORD? Now is the time to seek the LORD in prayer together. There are exciting days ahead. GOD’s economy can thrive in any conditions. Are our hearts and houses in order?
“…And He will be the stability of your times, A wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; The fear of the LORD is his treasure…” – Isaiah 33:6 “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way…” -Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities) (1859)]]>
I have been one of the people saying, “It was just a minor earthquake,” and “If you are sensible, and take precautions, even a hurricane won’t harm you.” Not everyone wanted to hear that. I found that there are people who cannot bear to have their drama taken from them. Sensible, old advice like “Stay off the telephone in emergencies so the lines are available for those who have need,” was angrily rebuked as insensitive. I suppose the parallel to the growing economic disaster is true. The people you and I warn now, with practical cautions about debt and employment, and with spiritual advice calling them to prayer, community and attendance on God’s teachings, will not want to let go of their existential drama either. The fall many have taken, and many more will take, in their way of living will push them into emotional crisis. I don’t believe there is any way of coping except with renewed faith and a humble return to community.
Amen, Magdalena. Some of us will go on in renewed faith – trusting in the LORD, and depending on on one another in the context of ecclesia and different forms of intentional community – and some of us will fall apart at the seams – and some of us I guess will do a little of both- but the word of the hour is mercy- praying for GOD’s mercy and being agents of his mercy to those around us. Thanks for taking time to comment!
Great thoughts here. I especially appreciate your understanding of scripture. It was fun to meet you and family in the parking lot at the Forest Farmer’s Market back in the early days of summer. Hope your family can get together with my sister’s.
Peace! Jenny from Sweden
Hi Jenny! Thanks for the comment! Yeah, it was a privilege to meet you in real time and space 🙂 – We hope to visit Holly soon and the next time you are in the States let us know. -shalom!
Thanks Jason… I preached this passage yesterday and posted similar thoughts on my blog this morning, though I was thinking more of my petty reactions to life’s little storms. I agree with your assessment that bigger storms are yet to come on the economic front, and that we’d all to well to listen when God talks, not just about our spirit, but about our money, our economy, our food. Blessings friend.
Richard, sounds like we’re on the same wavelength 🙂
In distress you called, and I delivered you;I answered you in the secret place of thunder;I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah – Psalm 81:7
Great verse Simeon. By the way – it was great having you’all over -let’s do it again!
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:”Matt 6:19-20.The wheels have been set in motion, there will be no recovery, we know this much. All of our safety nets and man made security blankets are being tugged from the bed of our lives by A Mighty Hand. It’s time to welcome the vulnerability and exposure we feel in these days, and seize the opportunity of sharing our hope with fellow travaillers and wayfarers. The whole agenda at play in this orchestrated collapse is one of fear and control. Our hope and the understanding that Yahweh is the only one truly in control is a sure antidote. It’s time to embrace the chaos, for in us becoming smaller He becomes greater…B’shem YahshuaCarl.