Please note that this post was written before today. Circumstances just happen to be a very neat God coincidence.
There are plenty of things my dad would say to me growing up that I still remember. Phrases like, “Fortunes can change” or “A real man plays the cards he is already dealt.” There was one statement though that I have always found extra pertinent to my life. I no longer remember the topic of the discussion. The truth is that the remembrance of the topic was not important. The statement my father made was, “Ever since I can remember, the sky has been falling.”
We like to overreact at things, and in the process lose the big picture. I think of when Obama got elected to president, and all of the wild things that went through peoples heads over that. At the time I was a RA in college, and had to do a fair amount of “counseling” to help the students through this very traumatic time of life. I dealt with some who believed the end of the world was near since Obama was clearly the antichrist. I had a couple of people tell me they now planned to move to Japan since Obama was president. Everyone know Japan is the Christian hub of the world. I had one individual come into my room to announce that Obama was going to be sworn into office on the Koran rather than the Bible. When asked where he heard this he said it was just a fact he had already realized in his head since Obama was a Muslim and not a Christian. I proceeded to throw my shoe at him and tell him to come back when he was ready to stop making up facts.
The funny thing? I do not even like Obama, but in each of these situations I found myself shaking my head at the sheer lunacy of people’s reactions. In each of these situations I strived to point them all back to the one they should have been looking at all along. To those who desired to move I asked why it would do any good to leave what you believe to be darkness when you have a light that could pierce through it in Christ. To the antichrist nuts I asked of them to give any biblical reasoning at all for their claim. For the Koran enthusiast I had to bluntly explain how gossip isn’t fact, and thus unbiblical.
Ironically I was already writing this post the other day before the Supreme Court’s decision for healthcare. I’m not going to talk about that issue because that is not what this post is about. This post is about any issue that receives a reaction that entails “the sky is falling”. So often we look up, and can’t look past this perceived falling sky to see a God that is still in control. I’m jumping in now and calling foul. This simply is not healthy.
When people look at difficult times and ask me if this means we are getting closer to the rapture my response is usually the same; we are closer to it today than we were yesterday. That fact would have been true whether or not there was an election, a natural disaster, or some other calamity that the world faces. We see signs of the end times and put our focus on this falling sky. We’ve missed the point.
There is an episode of Charlie Brown where he loses a spelling B, and is mortified. He proceeds to stay home the next day. He makes the decision to never get out of his bed until Linus comes by to check in on him. Linus explains that Charlie Brown has reason to be bumbed out about how yesterday went, but that there was something that he seems to have failed to notice. The world did not end. Might as well keep living life to the fullest until it does.
Do I think we should ignore bad things that happen? No. Do I think we should ignore signs of the end times? Certainly not. They were mentioned in Scripture for a reason. My desire is simply that we remember what that reason was. The reason was not so that we could throw our hands up in the air and cry out about how the sky is falling. I believe the real reason was twofold. One was so that we may be reminded to turn towards God in the midst of strife and hardships. Sometimes we must be reminded that we are weak, and that only God has the strength to protect us. The other is to remind us that we only have so much time to make a difference on this earth. Why then would we waist our time doing worthless tasks?
I think this is why I like working with younger generations. I find that they have a significant difference in their reaction to various events that go on in our world. Rather than sit around and talk about how bad things are they want to answer a much more important question. What can we do to change things? Then, once they have the answer, they set out to do it. They do not bother to look up at the sky to discuss whether or not it is falling.
When we become focused on a falling sky we lose focus on God, and we lose focus on people. Christ was a beautiful example of this. When He was preparing to be crucified He saw the disaster that was coming before him. He knew the pain He was about to experience. He was aware that His sky was falling, but He did not lose focus of everything else. He prayed to God for another way, but was willing to move forward when there was no other way. He was willing to move forward because He did not lose focus of two crucial things.
He did not lose focus of people. We see this when He was hanging on the cross and prayed to God to forgive them for they did not know what they were doing. He hung on that cross because his focus on people was sharper than his focus of a falling sky that would mean a painful death.
He did not lose focus of what laid beyond that falling sky. He remembered the main focus. It was the focus that in the end God wins. What did this knowledge allow Christ do? It allowed him to take action in face of a falling sky. When everyone else ran and hid because the sky was falling, Christ moved forward because He knew what lay beyond it.
What is beyond any falling skies we face? A God who is still in control. What exactly did that phrase from my dad teach me? It taught me that the sky is always going to be falling. It should never change the way we live. If something happens tomorrow that changes the way you live, you were already living today wrong.