Today marks the 20th anniversary of the tragic 9/11 events. Many have already shared tributes, posts, presidential speeches, and memories. There are undoubtedly many emotions. There are lessons to remember and learn. For others, there is also a sense of realizing how more deeply divided we have become since 9/11 over twenty years ago. Every issue now causes a level of controversy that destroys relationships and divides families. There are new domestic and international threats. A global pandemic continues to cause death, disrupt economies, and divide people. There is much that could be reflected on.
From Hans Rosling, Mark Manson, to Fareed Zakaria, multiple authors have written that contrary to popular belief, the world has gotten better, not worse, in modern times. The standard of living has improved worldwide. Access to education, healthcare, and technology has increased. Wars and violence are at the lowest globally from a historical perspective.
And yet, it seems as the world gets better, people’s hope is decreasing. This seeming contradiction is an interesting dynamic I write about in Chapter 3 of my book Hope Rising: Finding Hope in a Turbulent World. It was probably the most interesting chapter to write and wrestle with why this is the case.
In times like this that are uncertain and unfamiliar, panic and fear grips hearts, and people begin to focus on their personal needs and concerns in a way that can lead to hoarding, selfishness, and self-preservation. In times opposite of this however, people become arrogant and overly confident in the stock market or their comfortable lives that they take for granted. That is why this passage caught my eye in a new way…
And this is where my insight into suffering and God’s seeming silence and absence enters. I think we have confused God’s silence with God’s absence. I think his silence is evidence of His mercy rather than evidence of his absence. I think we have this all backward!
We are living in the midst of a culture that is polarized, anxious and fearful. Even among Christians, there is a sense of insecurity and instability. In an age marked by the rejection of eternal, absolute, objective truth and one transcendent God; there is a corresponding lack of deep rooted trust, peace, security, confidence and stability.
Yes, the world, because of sin, is a battleground, but God created it first as a playground. It was sin that made us serious and caused us to lose our joy, playfulness and child-like awe.
The heavens are pointing us to a reality greater than we can possibly imagine or comprehend. They are speaking to us of the vastness of God, the promises of God and the glory of God. They are pointing us to something (or more like someone!) beyond ourselves, beyond our own little worlds, beyond our “small” problems and even beyond the universe itself. It is speaking to us of the faithfulness of God to fulfill every good promise in our lives. It is speaking to us of an eternally glorious God; a God of beauty and delight who alone can satisfy the thirst of our hearts and longing of our hearts.
I was in a meeting recently where several people were sharing their efforts in different arena’s. One man shared about his efforts to address homelessness, another spoke of prison ministry and rehabilitation, and yet another missions work around the world. There was one more who spoke about political issues.
Want to take a guess who got the biggest applause and only standing ovation that day?
“What makes your heart sing?” -Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs asked the right question. The word “dream” in Old English originally meant “joy” or “music.” A dream is a song, a melody that delights the heart. It makes your heart sing.
When we begin to delight ourselves in God and his heart becomes our heart; when our prayers align with his will and He pours out His Spirit upon us and shows us what He has in mind for us, amazing things begin to happen! God calls us to good works done in His Name, by His power, just as Jesus went around doing good where there was need and his Father was working. And this can happen to any of us and all of us!
God wants to do a new thing in your life. More than that, He delights in and finds great pleasure in doing new things! Did you ever stop to think about the power and joy of that reality? We hear and use the word “new” all the time, but take a moment to let the definition of the word “new” sink into your spirit in a fresh way. The word new speaks of bringing into existence something that has not existed before, or that is discovered for the first time.
During this vacation, I started thinking about the waves of the sea and what lessons they might be able to teach us. Below are four life lessons of the waves.
We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. -Hebrews 6:12 This is not an easy article for me to write. I hate waiting. I live in a culture that is also very fast-paced, expects immediate gratification and is results oriented. IContinue reading “God is not in a Hurry”