This last couple of weeks I have been struggling – deep, deep heart struggle. I can’t stand what I am seeing in the world, my friends. It wrecks my heart to the core. The cynics say many things that make my heart hurt even worse.
**Suffering has gone on in the world for millenia – why does this bother you so much more than other stuff?
**It’s none of our business – we need to stop meddling.
**What about our people here in our own country? Things are just as bad here and we don’t seem so sad about that.
I get it…what the cynics say. I understand the thought process. And that crushes my heart, because it is so very deceitful. They are being deceived with such thinking – I know, I have been there. I still find myself there at times.
See, it’s not either/or when it comes to this kind of stuff, friends ~ Our conviction about the sin and suffering we see in the world is not limited to either/or.
It’s ALL OF IT.
It’s the increase of it. It’s the callousness of it. It’s the intensity and frequency of it. It’s the in-your-face aspect of it. It’s the almost celebratory “look at what I can get away with” of it all – and most of all – it’s the shutting of our eyes to protect ourselves part of it that gets my stomach turning and twisted in knots. It’s not the horrible photos. It’s not that at all. It’s the facing – the IN YOUR FACE facing up to the truth and reality and the way that we coldly stand back and do nothing (not even really pray that much) of it that makes me feel sick. Yet we get our panties in a bunch if the Starbucks guy looks at us sideways (must be because I’m gay, a Christian, a democrat, or whatever) junk that we focus upon instead!
Yes, it’s always been present – evil and twisted sin. Yes, it’s part of the human sin nature – cruelty, lies, murder, terror, and apathy. But I see it increasing. And no – it’s not only due to the fact that we have practically real-time news flashes at our fingertips. It’s an overall change in the way sin is see in our world coupled with the increase in intensity that is present.
I feel it in my soul. I know it is real…this change. Satan knows the end is near and he’s ramping up his games.
Matthew 24:12 ~ Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.
We are cold – indifferent – consumed with something as stupid as the fact that our neighbor looked at us funny and we think that spells discrimination. Simultaneously, we turn a blind eye to the really wicked stuff that’s going on around us all in the name of “mind your own business.” It’s crap. All of that justification we provide for ourselves so we don’t have to act…care….be deeply disturbed.
We don’t want to burst the bubble or anything like that, do we?
I’m sick about it. That bubble is such a liar. It makes us feel warm and protected. But nothing real gets inside. So it’s all false – all deceit. All an illusion. It’s a scheme of the devil, there’s no other way to explain it!
It is inside of these bubbles that our love will grow cold. But we won’t even know it’s happening, because we feel so warm and pretty. And lest you think I am spewing judgement out upon the world without looking hard at my little self, you are mistaken.
How did I title this blog post? It’s the opposite of the title of the entire blog. I titled my entire blog site Eyes Wide Open for a reason – a personal reason, friends. It’s because I like the bubble vision too much. I like it very much to close my eyes (and my heart) to the reality of what is going on, whether it’s something horrific in the world or something even worse inside of my own heart. So I put myself on the hook by naming it that way. I am on the hook with Jesus to let Him search my heart and open my eyes (heart) to the truth….even when it’s very, very ugly.
See…he does great things when we are willing to take a look at the ugly along with Him. If we are willing to see it, let it twist our stomachs up for a moment, let it pierce our hearts and prod us and twist us until we wonder if we will ever “feel” comfort again, we get to then turn it over to Him and experience true comfort and peace. That is not the stuff of feelings at all, a lot of the time – rather it is this God thing that surpasses mere feelings. It is better.
But the flesh still battles hard. It battles for the feelings part of it all – it wants comfort. It likes the bubble.
I want to shut my eyes to what I see growing increasingly wicked by the day in our world because it reminds me of just how dark our human hearts can be if we turn away from the Lord. I want to shut my eyes and not be reminded of the horrible things that man can do to one another when he seeks his own way instead of following afer Jesus. I want to shut my eyes when I can’t do anything much to help others that are suffering unimaginable things at the hands of the evil one. I want to crawl in my bubble and shut my eyes. Seal them. Hibernate in my own little happy world.
And this last couple of weeks, I find myself unable to do that. And that is GOOD. It’s a bad feeling kind of good to have my eyes wide open lately.
Matthew 24: 6-8 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all[a] these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences,[b] and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
Do not be troubled? I don’t know what the original greek or hebrew word for that translates to, but I don’t think it means what it would to us today at first glance, because later Jesus says “these are the beginning of sorrows.”
I think Jesus means that we can have confidence in the FACE OF THESE SORROWS that He IS going to come back and all of this evil will be put to an end. It will be done, over, finished forever. He has already paid the price for us on the cross. That part is already finished if we have accepted Him as Lord and Savior. But we will get to go home and live with Him one day in a place where there is no evil. We will be in a place where feelings meet truth and it is a whole new way of living. The real life begins in this place.
Revelation 21:4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
In the meantime, morbid as many may think that I am, I am not going to shut my eyes. I am going to look in the face of the evil that is happening and remember Jesus’ words to us. “This is the beginning of sorrows.”
Only He can heal.
While we stare in the face of love growing cold, do we stand strong and firm and rooted in the love of Jesus anyway? What is it today that may be stopping you from loving others as He first loved us? Are you afraid to come out of the bubble for fear of being troubled? Are you turning to Him in the midst of the sorrows and allowing His peace, His comfort, His joy to weigh heavier than the light and airy feel-good stuff the bubble provides? Do you want to shut your eyes to something today that you know you are supposed to see, even if it’s ugly, life changing, and scary? You are not alone, friend. You are NOT alone.
He tells us to watch many times – there’s a reason for that, my friends. Please watch. Look and watch for Jesus in all that you do. It may seem sometimes like all you see is evil in the world as you open your eyes and peer outside the bubble. But do not be deceived. God is at work. Do not be deceived into being lulled to sleep. Watch for Him, friends. Find Him where you are and watch for His return. I highly urge you to immerse yourself in Jesus’ own words about watching for His return. To me, if Christ Himself emphasizes something over and over again, it warrants considering it and pondering it and immersing ourselves in it deeply. You can find what Jesus says about this in many places, but Matthew 24 is a great place to start.
Study it…ponder it. Look with a discerning eye as to what Jesus is saying. Don’t be the virgin with the lamp that ran out of oil. Don’t be the servant who partied at home while waiting for His master to return. Be ready. He is coming.
And I must say, if I make some people angry or uncomfortable with this brazen blog post today, please know I speak only out of love. It can’t be all hearts and flowers when it comes to getting our attention fixed upon Christ in the midst of a very distracting and very cold world. It just can’t. This is my attempt at helping us to remain vigilant and STAY AWAKE. I feel Jesus urging me to become even more bold for Him. So, if I made you uncomfortable today, I think that’s a good thing. Please send me a note in the comments below if you feel you need to talk more with me. I will get your contact information and we can chat.
Our pastor reminded us last night of something very significant: The Bible ends with an exclamation point. Embedded within that – all wrapped up in the end of God’s word – is this:
He is coming back soon and we are to look forward to it.
To do that, we must watch.
He who testifies to these things says, “surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!