DayBreaks for 9/20/16 – In a Besieged City
From the DayBreaks archive, 9/19/2006:
As I write this, I’m sitting in a hospital waiting word on a procedure that is being done on a brother from our church. I took the last 30-45 minutes to read some Newsweek articles about the war on terror and how it has morphed through the past 10 years. Some of it is enough to curl your hair and make you run to a bomb shelter with windows taped shut with duct tape to help prevent chemical agents from entering.
It is a strange, yet interesting, time and place in which we live. The rule of law, no – make that the rule of decency – seems to have been left in a toy box somewhere or discarded like a once-favored toy that is too old fashioned to still occupy us. The degree of hatred and bitterness in the world is beyond comprehension. The Deceiver has done his job well, it seems. We are tempted to become despairing, discouraged and lose our hope as a result.
We would be wrong, however, if we think that our age is the only age which has confronted atrocity and attack. C. S. Lewis preached at the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin at Oxford on October 22, 1939. Less than two months earlier, Hitler had invaded Poland. Britain was about to face the horrible Nazi onslaught. This is what Lewis told the assembled students:
“It may seem odd for us to carry on classes, to go about our academic routine in the midst of a great war. What is the use of beginning when there is so little chance of finishing? How can we study Latin, geography, algebra in a time like this? Aren’t we just fiddling while Rome burns?
“This impending war has taught us some important things. Life is short. The world is fragile. All of us are vulnerable, but we are here because this is our calling. Our lives are rooted not only in time, but also in eternity, and the life of learning, humbly offered to God, is its own reward. It is one of the appointed approaches to the divine reality and the divine beauty, which we shall hereafter enjoy in heaven and which we are called to display even now amidst the brokenness all around us.”
Lewis was right, and I think he made a key observation. Our lives are rooted in time, but as Christians (and even non-Christians), there is an eternity that awaits us. What we do in this life, if offered to God with thanksgiving and reverence, is a blessing and carries certain rewards with it. But we’re here – alive in this time of turmoil and terror – because it is our calling to be here now. We are not here, at this moment, in the place you are in, by mistake or by some freak coincidence of timing. You are where you are right NOW because it is God’s calling for your life to be alive now.
Let’s not worry about if there’s a chance of finishing what we start. Let’s commit ourselves to being faithful with each breath and let Him worry about the ending.
Psalm 31:21: Blessed be the Lord, for he showed his wonderful love to me when I was in a besieged city.
PRAYER: We are in a besieged world, Lord, and you know that well. It was besieged in your time, too, and help us draw comfort that you know what it is like to live in tumultuous times in topsy-turvy places. Let us not lose sight of your wonderful love even while we are in the middle of the enemy’s attack. Help us fulfill the calling you’ve given us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.