Eight years ago when I launched this blog I was writing on the same topic as I am today– how to live a life centered in God—but today I write with a stronger voice, a harder-hitting voice. Five years ago we were just beginning to pull out of the recession of 2008, things were beginning to look up. And we did pull out of the recession and yet today I am feeling more urgency than ever. There’s a lot of talk, at least in evangelical circles, about the second coming of Christ. I have no intuition about that, but there is the sense today that things are more uncertain. Certainly, the Middle East is a mess, worse than in 2011. ISIS and similar groups seem to be reaching beyond the Middle East with their terror at least as far as Europe which threatens us, too. And now the tension between North and South Korea. And there is the election year here which is unlike any I have ever seen; there seems to be little agreement on anything between the right, the left and the middle.
And so I have, with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, ramped up the dialogue. Are you feeling the same unease? Do you see the rampant fear that I do? If there is one thing that I have learned in my lifetime is that what we fear seldom happens, but that we can be blindsided by things we can’t even imagine—9/11 for example or the Cuban Missile Crisis of the early 60’s. I was in college when the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred and our navy faced down Russian Navy in the Atlantic. I was at Connecticut College in New London, just a half a mile from the Electric Boat Factory which manufactured submarines and from the Submarine base across the river Thames from us. That submarine base and the company that made them were natural targets if fighting had actually broken out. We held our collective breath until the Russians backed down.
Neither of these events were on my radar screen or anyone else’s in the nation. But the one thing I have learned in all these years is that I trust that God will take care of me and you and you, all of us. That no matter whether we live or die we will be fine. That is not to say that I wouldn’t prefer to live, but that my life, all of our lives are in God’s hands and that he will take care of us.
I take heart from Psalm 23: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” I will not give into the rampant fear that is every where I go. I will not live in anxiety. I will not resist whatever is to come in my life. I trust God in everything! EVERYTHING!
And so with that stronger, harder-hitting voice I call us back to the knowledge that God is supreme over all the universe and that we are to trust in him above all else, especially the oh-so human voices that would keep us in fear.
So how do we live in this perilous age? First, we hold strongly to the Biblical teachings that God is good, that he will take care of all our needs, that we can rest in his strength. Secondly, we set aside time every day to just be with God, to listen for his “still, small voice” within us; we seek to be guided throughout our days by Christ. Thirdly, we lift up our own fears and angers and trepidations to the Holy Spirit that he might transform them into courage and resilience and the strength needed for these times.
Fourth, we connect deeply with those around us—our families, our friends, neighbors, the people in our churches, those in need–and seek to reassure and to be reassured by our connectedness. Fifth, we pray for the world and all peoples to return to the sanity of getting along well, of working towards peace and harmony for all people, of seeking to change our systems so they serve everyone, rich or poor, all races, all people on the fringes. Armored with our love of God, strengthened by our love of God and his love for us, we will always know who we belong to, whose we are. Then nothing can harm us.
Sixth, above all we nestle in God’s arms, in a deep relationship with him where we hold nothing back of who we are. We bring our whole selves to him in love. We seek above all to bring his love and caring wherever we are, to whomever we meet. We hope above all else to live in his kingdom here on earth, being living examples of how the fruit of the Spirit—love, peace, joy, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control—transforms the lives of those who love God with all of themselves.
When the kingdom of God is the living, visible alternative to the world’s ways, when it offers its ways to the world through many people who are living here in the kingdom right now, then the world will change. How many of us would it take to show the world how the kingdom actually works? 10,000 people living in love for God and all their neighbors? 100,000? 1,000,000? Would you join me in praying for the transformation of your/my life that we may actually be living in the kingdom today? Tomorrow? Will you/will I allow God to use us totally for his purposes?
Jesus preached about the potentiality of the kingdom, unseen and yet everywhere. Isn’t it time to make that potential real? Have we ever needed the kingdom more than right now?
Questions to ponder over the weekend: What does the kingdom of God on earth mean to me? Have I dreamed about dwelling in the kingdom? About being totally on God’s side? What would I have to give up to do that? What would I have to become? Am I willing to totally put myself in God’s hands to accomplish this longing?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who live with no fear, who cannot be drawn away from God’s ways. May we be the people of God in whom God’s light always shines.
My new video is up on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHqKay89kjE. It’s title is Exodus IIIb. This is about the later wilderness experience.
My book, “Thy Kingdom Come!” is up on Amazon in both paperback and kindle versions.
This week I am again asking for another kind of testimony for my book on Exodus. Fr. Gregory Boyle who works with gang members in Los Angeles says that we often talk about how when one door closes another door opens in our lives, but no one talks about how far apart the two events are, that there is often a long tunnel between those two events, a long transition. I’d love to hear your stories about the transitional state, in Exodus that would be the wilderness between Egypt and Canaan, what it was like until the other door opened. Where was God for you? What was it like? How did you manage?
Thank you so much to all of my readers who have contributed stories to this book on Exodus. In faith and love, Pat