A collection of past contributions…
English people may have struggled contemplating the new world order created by the loss of the American Colonies. How would commerce, social and political arrangements be affected? It was a bumpy path, with additional skirmishes to follow.
But we were excited. As Benjamin Franklin optimistically observed at the First Continental Congress, which was frequently a divided body even back then, the sun carved on the back of the Chairman’s chair was rising, not setting.
So the sun rose on our new nation. The providential occurrences that were a part of that age, including George Washington’s evident divine protection at the battle at the Monongahela River in Western Pennsylvania during the French and Indian Wars, made it evident that this nation had a divine place in history. At that battle, while many holes were put in Washington’s uniform, no holes were put in Washington! This led the Indian leader to instruct his warriors to stop trying to shoot him off his horse because he was being divinely protected.
So the sun rose on our new nation. With our many flaws we have remained here with our ever changing place in history. So whereto from here? We celebrate our freedom but we stumble over our freedom. “Freedom” itself gets constantly redefined – and compromised. Hopefully that sun has not run its course across the sky of our existence.
But there is one celebration of freedom that will last at least another 1000 years. We have Providential promise of that. Found in Leviticus 23:34 and in Zechariah 14:16, it is the Jewish “Feast of Booths”. It commemorates the escape of the Hebrew nation from Egyptian slavery. The whole millennial world will celebrate!
God has His hand on history, and He has his hand on our nation – our extent and our duration. May we celebrate His blessings for many years to come!
Sitting on the veranda cooking up some burgers on the grill, I’m thinking “I should be doing something while I’m doing this”. After all, while I just sit here waiting for the grill to do its job, I could be being productive doing something! The hardest thing is to sit and wait. But sometimes we don’t have a choice. Like eight minutes on a side for burgers. We’ve got to wait. Waiting can be for bigger things too, like surgery recovery, or test results, or a phone call.
I’m not good at waiting, but I may be getting better. I think it must take practice, and the older I get the more practice I get.
The Bible talks about waiting. There’s waiting on God – prayer. Then there’s waiting for God – patience. And there’s waiting with God – power for living. We’re told that the farmer “waits for the former and latter rains”. That’s learning that God’s timing and purposes are right. Wait for it.
All waiting takes time. It takes time to pray, communicating with God about “stuff”. Patience, by definition, takes time. But patience helps build faith as we discover new areas where God has heard, is aware, and cares. Finally, we can find power for living when we are confident in God’s presence with us. Jesus said, “I am with you to the end of the world.”
That promise gained significance for me one summer when I worked in Thule, Greenland. “Thule” means “the end of the world”. God was present there too. His faithfulness reaches to the remotest places on earth, with or without human presence.
And with or without human presence, God is good. Very good.
In the busy-ness of life we seldom take time to think about these things. We feel called to an active life, not a waiting life. But both are necessary. And it’s a good journey.
I think the burgers are done.
Years ago while in the Philippines I visited the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial. It is a huge sprawl of 17,206 military grave markers including fallen from the Philippines and from other Allied nations. Of those 17,206, there are over 3700 that are unknown. The marble crosses and Stars of David, neatly arranged in huge circular patterns around the central memorial, silently witness to the unfathomable cost of war. It’s hard to imagine the personal loss that the thousands of individuals and families represented here experienced.
When will wars stop? Will wars ever stop? Sadly, if we look for Biblical answers to those questions, the answer is disappointing. No, wars will never stop. At least not voluntarily. And the pain and grief that wars bring will continue until there is active intervention.
That intervention that will terminate wars will have to be from strong leadership, with immense power, that can impose worldwide peace by force. Enter the One who will rule with a “rod of iron” (Revelation 19:15) – the Prince of Peace Himself, Jesus Christ. Finally there will be peace. When the “Lamb of God” returns it will be as the “Lion of Judah”.
But will that peace be enduring? Not totally, because at the end of a thousand years, there will be a resurgence of sinful rebellion on the part of large portions of mankind. There will be an uprising, and the last battle, if it can be called a battle at all, will be fought. It won’t last long. It will be a slaughter. There will be great loss of life on the side opposing God. There will be no Memorial Day services for those fallen at the Battle of Armageddon (Ezekiel 39, and Revelation 19 and 20). The final war will have been fought.
Soon after will come the New Heaven and the New Earth. War will finally be done.