One might say our nation is experiencing a bit of unrest at the moment.
With demonstrations stretching across the globe, political parties standing staunchly in their opposing views, and a social media platform that allows for endless disparaging comments with little accountability, our milieu can feel pretty grim.
This reality is one I can’t overlook or ignore as I sit to reflect on what God has been speaking to my heart and what He is prompting me to share. Interestingly enough, this song sounded a bit familiar, so I went digging through City Salt blog posts and discovered I had written on a fairly similar topic months ago.
At the risk of sounding redundant, I feel compelled to continue this message. One of choosing hope in the midst of turmoil and darkness. The Holy Spirit has been impressing upon me the dire necessity of the Church to not shrink away from the strife and the tension of this world.
I’d venture a guess that the majority of us prefer to avoid conflict. I certainly find myself in that boat. However, it is the very silence and reticence of the Church that cultivates a breeding ground for darkness to flourish. We can see in the words and actions of humankind that our world is crying out for proactive peacemakers to stand up and stand out.
In the book of Jonah, we read of a man who is mandated by God to bring the Truth of the Gospel to a broken people. And, we see that same man resisting obedience to that call. Now clearly, the context of the account of Jonah doesn’t quite mirror our experience in 2017 America, but there are some significant convictions to glean.
The Lord gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.”
3 But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the Lord by sailing to Tarshish.
4 But the Lord hurled a powerful wind over the sea, causing a violent storm that threatened to break the ship apart. 5 Fearing for their lives, the desperate sailors shouted to their gods for help and threw the cargo overboard to lighten the ship.
But all this time Jonah was sound asleep down in the hold. 6 So the captain went down after him. “How can you sleep at a time like this?” he shouted. “Get up and pray to your god! Maybe he will pay attention to us and spare our lives.” Jonah 1:1-6
Not only was Jonah avoiding the call of God on his life, he fell asleep during a time of danger and unrest in the life of the broken people around him. We see them cry out in desperation, made vulnerable by their fear of impending death and destruction and thus primed for the beauty of the Gospel to bring hope and life to their hearts.
And after Jonah awakes, apprehends the situation and the danger his boat mates are in and acknowledges the God of the sea and storm, the crew’s cries turn to ones of praise and surrender to that one true God.
15 Then the sailors picked Jonah up and threw him into the raging sea, and the storm stopped at once! 16 The sailors were awestruck by the Lord’s great power, and they offered him a sacrifice and vowed to serve him. Jonah 1:15-16
The people in our spheres of influence, those that are on the boat with us, are desperate to survive this storm that faces our nation and our world. But many of them are lacking the hope that we hold so tightly, and are scrambling for something secure to grab ahold of.
God has so graciously chosen to include the humble people of his Church to be the ones to offer a life saving hand of hope. Those of us who are able to trust in the unwavering goodness of God and have tasted it firsthand must wake from our slumber and fiercely contend for those that are slipping away, unaware of the Source of true life.
“Awake, O sleeper,
rise up from the dead,
and Christ will give you light.”