Life is headed somewhere all the time. There is no static place of perpetual existence except in our imagination. That is a preview of an eternal promise but we are certainly not living there yet.
It is natural, especially as we age, to think of ‘simpler times when things were far more peaceful.’ But there never were simpler times-only personal moments of reprieve from the constant rush of unfolding events ever changing. Things have always been transitioning-it is the nature of things that are captured in ‘time.’ Even our best memories when life seemed slow and easy were moving us to this present troubled here and now.
It is right to learn to be still and quiet while at the same time remaining aware of the movement around us. This is how we learn to live in the present moment, in the spirit, untroubled by the swirling events that frighten people who are more tied to the world than to God. When we are frightened and anxious it is a good sign that things are out of order inside us, and the shaking around us, though it is usually not ‘from’ God, not God’s will, becomes a necessary tool in His hand to awaken us to ourselves.
This is why the whole country is shaking right now. It is a mercy that we are being shaken. That is not to disrespect those who are suffering far more than others of us. We must be truly sensitive to each and ever hurting person and not to flip their pain off as a mere statistic. Still, we must be shaken as a culture. The alternative is to remain as we are- unaware, unmoved, unresponsive to God, and unchanged. The condition of this country (all of the west) has been one of ever increasing stupidity. I do not mean that word as a mere pejorative-I mean it as an accurate description. To be stupid is to be in a ‘stupor,’ to be ‘slow witted,’ i.e. to see but not be able or willing to perceive. To borrow from the words of Isaiah and quoted by Jesus, ‘Having eyes they see not, and having ears they hear not.’ We who consider ourselves fully awake may be amazed when we see through the clear eyes of eternity how many evils not only tolerated, but practiced, and worst of all, never even thought of them as evil.
The new cultural term, to be ‘woke’ claims those of a certain point of view are now no longer in a stupor, they are fully awake, seeing clearly. I long for that to be true. But so far we are culturally, corporately only aware that things are dangerously out of order. Those closest to the disorder are the most aware obviously. The rest of us are somewhere between mildly irritated to anxiously angry. That’s a start I guess. But it is certainly not awake-not nearly so.
We will not be awake until we are awakened unto righteousness. (I Corinthians 15:34) And so far we are as a culture certainly are not awake to righteousness-only self righteousness. We will be fully awake when we all fall on our faces and say ‘the problem is ME Lord. My heart is wrong. I need your mercy.’ I am not fully there yet. I still want to rant and rave at all the stupid people out there causing all the trouble. But I am at least aware that I am not fully awakened to righteousness yet. Grace is making me ever more uncomfortable with my own inner state before the Lord.
The shaking will go on hopefully till there is a true awakening. ‘Getting BACK to normal’ would be a sad accomplishment. There is nothing ‘back there’ we really want. Yes we certainly must have law and order. That is not what I am referring to. The opposite of law and order is duh, lawlessness and disorder. Even the most mind numbed humanist bleeding heart liberal wants to sleep safely at night in his own neighborhood. So to the extend we can return to some semblance of sanity there is a worthy goal. But should that be achieved (and I am not sure it is), if it only serves to lull us back into a self centered worldly minded sleep, it would not a blessing. It would not be love that allows for such a ‘return to normal.’ We must AWAKEN TO RIGHTEOUSNESS. Love will shake us as hard as needed to get there.
So let us pray for whatever shaking must occur to bring us awake to Reality. It is more truly restful to be fully awake to God in a storm than to be blissfully drowning.