[Image: Waiting, 2013, JA Van Devender]
Location: Old Faithful, Yellowstone, Nt. Park.
Isaiah 8:16–17 (NKJV)
16 Bind up the testimony, Seal the law among my disciples.
17 And I will wait on the Lord, Who hides His face from the house of Jacob; And I will hope in Him.
Sometimes you know "something's coming"... the intuition that that "hammer is about to fall" is so pervasive as to be inescapable.
Sometimes "the Lord... hides His face from Jacob."
The confluence of events has produced a swirling uncertainty that permeates the social consciousness these days. Every poll reflects a level of anxious anticipation that, in my lifetime, appears unprecedented. It is interesting to me that during the height of the Cold War, the possibility of nuclear annihilation, though distant, was real. It was kind of "just there." But the ordinary Joe mostly just went on with his life, mostly confident that somehow or someway things were going to be OK. The economy and the prosperity of this country, not to say all the others, was headed up and though there were crises and scandals aplenty, yet the overall good humor remained.
Today "good humor" and confidence is not very apparent at all. Dissatisfaction, even embarrassment, with our national leadership characterizes the entire spectrum of adult awareness. The stock market is high and people cling to that strange phenomenon but no one can really give a good answer for why it is so. World events have a chilling "we've been here before and it didn't turn out very well" tone to them. On the whole, it's as if we are waiting on a bench for an eruption to happen. We know it's coming... we sense that God is not going to pull our rabbit out of His hat... and therefore, it's just a matter of time.
I am amazed at how this has affected so many. There is an entire generation that has so despaired of the situation that they make no effort to stay current in what is happening. They feel completely helpless.
I heard a young man being interviewed last night, an expert on computer social networks, and he was challenged with the question: "What are the implications for our individual privacy when there is so much data available about us on the social networks?" (This conversation was prompted by the news that FaceBook now has the capability of identifying virtually anyone through software that makes facial recognition 97% accurate and the fact that they have billions of photos, world wide, of people to sort through.) The young man, with a straight face, replied... "there is no such thing as privacy anymore... get used to it."
This man, in my opinion, represents an entire cross section of the population. Governments, big business, commercial interests are understood as being somewhat beyond the pale of limitations. Laws are meaningless... they will do what they want and generally get away with it. Further, when this is coupled with the prevailing reality of unrest throughout the globe... images flashing across YouTube showing raging crowds flinging rocks through clouds of tear gas, Russian paratroops floating down on Crimean soil and massing along Ukraine's border, a huge airplane mysteriously disappearing, .... the thought that there are converging lines of events that must collide at some point.
And so it goes. Anxiety fills the air and escapism becomes the primary means of dealing with it.
With Isaiah though, Christians need to see that this is a time of opportunity. Into this despair we need to cling to and proclaim hope. I recently heard a missionary to Japan tell of how his attempts at penetrating the Japanese society were virtually fruitless for over 20 years. A turning point came when the massive tsunami ripped the northern Japanese island apart, leaving a wake of destruction that had not been experienced there since World War II. People were without food, water, electricity or transportation. What they noticed was, due to the prevailing concern about radiation, that everyone who could was fleeing the area, abandoning their neighbors and fellow citizens, but there was one group, Christians, who were traveling to the area, organizing relief, sometimes in pick up trucks, and just trying to help.
They were few in number... their total objective impact was small compared to what came later... but their witness was huge. People noticed... and things began to change.
We may sense what is coming... but our job is to wait on the Lord while we watch and be prepared for whatever we may be required to do, if and when His will is that something erupts.