The Storm Before
By Jim Fletcher
We can look at it one of two ways: the rotten nature of our
society and larger world is something to be feared, or accepted. Maybe I’m
weird, but I like where we are. It shows me that God is in control and he’s
“working His plan.”
I just returned from a week in Ecuador.
I kept looking for an angel wielding a sword, guarding the entrance to the
garden. Amazingly beautiful, Ecuador
is a South American country with enviable natural resources. An enormously rich
gold mine was just located. Gas hovers just over a dollar a gallon, sure to drop
after a refinery is repaired. They import no food, since everything from beef to
vegetables and fruits grow massive in the soil-rich countryside.
I mention this because there are good reasons to long for
such a place. The U.S.
is moving closer to sanctioning gay marriage. Abortion proponents have cleverly
diverted our attention to global warming. After all, if you’re talking
incessantly about preserving ecosystems, you don’t have to talk about the
barbarism inherent in abortion. Emergent church leaders are birthing Something
Wicked This Way Comes in the Christian community.
We are where we are.
All this seems relevant to me because they illustrate the
twin terrors of our time: societal degradation, and hatred of Israel.
What is all this if not confirmation of Scripture?
Almost 4,000 years ago, in the wilderness, God told the
Israelites exactly what would happen to them. In detail. Deuteronomy and Numbers
aren’t boring books in the Old Testament; they are alive with supernatural
Man is always looking for ways to see into his future.
There are reports from time to time of paranormal investigation. We try to find
ways to see into the future.
All the while, the Bible has already done that for us.
Paul predicted, through the Holy Spirit, that society would
plunge into darkness in the last days. The prophets predicted that Israel
would be pushed to the brink.
current prime minister is so weak, he’s become embarrassing. Clinging to power
after a bungled war in Lebanon
and unseemly corruption charges, he vows to stay in office.
Perhaps the most ominous sign for Israel is Iran.
Not only is the Islamic state close to having nukes, but it’s been made clear to
the Jewish state that if it chooses to go it alone and strike Iran’s nuclear
facilities, there will be various responses, all bad. Oil at $200 a barrel is
threatened, and that represents perhaps the worst threat of all: economic.
My friend (and yours) Avi Lipkin recounted several years
ago a dinner meeting he had with Texas oilmen. They
told their Israeli guest point-blank that they were tired of fighting wars on Israel’s
behalf. They hinted darkly that Israel
would find herself alone if oil supplies were threatened again, as they were in
A personal aside: several years ago, I did myself a favor
and internalized the concept of Abraham being a “sojourner” in this world. He
described himself as essentially just passing through, that this world was not
his real home.
Until I absorbed that, I had hunkered down and thought that
life was really about clinging to the past, to things I knew were sure.
Life has taught me that very little is sure, and that we
can’t rely on people or things. We can only rely on God. And God has provided us
abundant evidence of what our future is. It is not longing for an earthly Eden.
It is not “taking back America.”
It is not hoping that someone can bring peace to the Middle East.
This life is really about preparation for the next life.
The permanent life. Abraham is there.
I hope you will be, too.