It’s hard to know where to begin this message.
In national politics, something happened this week that millions of earnest Christians had prayed would not happen, and executive orders are flowing as I write. Meanwhile, the violence is still erupting in Portland, and Covid continues its march across the country, now reaching closer and closer to all of us.
How do we hold fast?
Our current situation reminds me of the words of King Theoden in The Two Towers as he considers his ruined fortress and his defeated army: “It is over. The fortress is taken…So much death. What can men do against such reckless hate?” In our nation’s case, I believe that the hatred has been stirred up by Satan himself. The rioters in Portland, for example, have changed from smashing the Republican headquarters to now smashing the Democratic headquarters. The target has changed, but the hatred rages on unabated.
As we look across the landscape of our sad country, I would suggest an alternative question to the one that King Theoden asked in despair. We can ask this question because we have access to a spiritual reality that is greater than everything we see around us. With that in mind, our question is simple, but powerful: “What else is true?”
In King Theoden’s case, the greater truth was that the rider on the white horse (Gandalf) was about fifteen minutes away from appearing in glory to save the fortress. For those fifteen minutes, Theoden had a simple choice: despair and die, or ride out and meet the enemy. He chose the way of courage, and, though hopelessly outnumbered, was fighting faithfully when Gandalf arrived with reinforcements.
And that is the same choice that we have today: despair, or face in spiritual combat the “world rulers of this present darkness.” In our case, we know a far greater White Rider is on the way, but it may be a longer wait than fifteen minutes. As we hope and pray, we can make the choice to be faithful to our calling. And we continue to ask that vital question: “What else is true?”
God is true.
HIs Word is true.
HIs Promises are true.
His overflowing Love and Grace are true.
His blazing Holiness and Justice are true.
His Coming is true.
His Conquest is true.
In these dark days, I am learning to hide myself in the truth of Who God Is. From that bedrock, we draw courage and hope to continue. And we can draw courage from other sources as well: good people, and good books.
People rally around us when we are weak. A few days ago I was feeling under tremendous pressure for a variety of reasons. In view of mounting troubles both national and local, some faithful friends gathered in prayer to a mighty God, and by the end of the meeting, that terrible pressure had been lifted. I am so grateful to God for His mercy. If you are feeling weighed down by current events or by anything else, please reach out to some close friends and gather for prayer. The darkness is too deep to fight alone.
And when people aren’t available, we always have books. In a worldview book by John Stonestreet and Brett Kunkle that I’m reading with the Bible School students, the authors speak of the great metanarrative that spans all of scripture: Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration. We stand poised on the leading edge of Restoration, which culminates with the return of Christ and the establishing of his eternal Kingdom.
The authors point out the importance of not mistaking the moment (January 2021) for the story (the metanarrative.) The moment may be dark, but the story is bright. The moment may feel hopeless, but the story is brimming full with Joy. The moment is bleak, but the story is about an endless summer morning—eternity with Christ Himself.
And that is where the Sabbath comes in. (This is a Sabbath e-mail, after all.) The Sabbath reminds us of that greater Story. Further, it is a foretaste of the Ending of that story. The Sabbath is a weekly shot of hope that we so desperately need. So on this day of rest, let’s sit back and smile—we know how the Story ends. And it ends well. We labor for six days to bring in the Kingdom of God, but we rest on the seventh day as our statement of trust that God is the One who bears the weight of that Kingdom. He will bring it to fruition regardless of what is happening in our nation, and we can be secure and peaceful in that fact.
So…what else is true?