I was boxing out under the basket, pushing my way back, and all of a sudden someone hit me hard, like a brick wall, and my spine did this odd whiplash thing where each vertebrae stretched its arms and yawned. The cracking was what bothered me. This reminded me of the first time I was ever at the Brock’s house. A bunch of us started a soccer game in the upper field behind their house, and running around and whatnot. Jacob, Nathan, Hannah, a few others, and myself were playing. I’d been playing aggressively, still trying to figure out who could handle what, how they played, who these wonderful people were. I’d forgotten Jacob was a soldier. At one point, there I was, taking the ball down the field, and WHAM. A brick wall. I toppled over and watched Jacob take the ball down the field.
Sitting here in the Pie Shop, working on German homework, anticipating tomorrow, I have that same hit-by-a-brick-wall feeling. The not-so-peaceful protests due to the Ferguson uproar that started in Manhattan and have traveled all along the island (I’m not sure if they’ve hit my part of Brooklyn yet) have shut down the three major bridges letting people in and out of the City. There’s a Nor’Eastern rolling in, planning on dealing a killer blow tomorrow afternoon. And while the buses more often than not take the tunnels out, I’m beginning to wonder if I’m going to be able to get out of the City.
The Brick Wall Feeling comes from the absolute chaos that’s resulted from this political issue, this case, this “event.” While I won’t talk about the right or wrong of the situation, I will talk about the fact that there’s a better way to react to this, whatever side you’re on, than a fearful, emotion-driven tornado of people who aren’t taking the time to think clearly. Again, not talking about the Ferguson issue itself, just the reaction.
The point of my telling you this is that I realized today that maybe the end times are much closer than I thought they were. I mean, granted, Christ could come any time. Now…or now…maybe now. But I subconsciously thought it might be much longer, maybe even past my lifetime before any of this chaos began so close to home. Every time I go to the gym I see headlines about ISIS, Hamas, Westboro Baptist, natural disasters play across the screens of every television screen, and the list goes on. “The Immigration System is Broken,” “Florida State Shooting Devastating Many,” “ISIS on the Rampage,” are just a few headlines I’ve seen. I normally try not to talk about specific political issues in this blog, but I’m beginning to see that everything that’s going on around me, all of the hurt and fear and chaos, is actually much more than politics.
Politics, at this point, and the results of decisions made by the government, the protesting, the rampaging, the shootings, the wars, the tragedies, are part of a much larger issue that few are willing to address. This isn’t something on the surface that we can just fix with the flip of a switch. This goes deeper than the skin of the masses.
Last night I sat in my dorm and watched Kay Arthur, a Christian women’s speaker, as she talked to thousands of women about the life of David and his fall with Bathsheba. She talked about America and how the individuals that make up this once-great-and-no-longer-honorable-country are at a crossroad. The immorality and godlessness and shamelessness and irreverence and disobedience is sending this country, this nation, this entire world forward onto the wrong path of this crossroad.
Humans are born sinful, born with the motivation to be sinful and to do wrong in the sight of God. Our hearts, as human beings, are corrupt, blackened by generations of sinful ancestors leading all the way back to the book of Genesis. And the only One who can transform and change the heart until it’s no longer black but rather the purest shade of vibrant vermillion you’ve ever seen is the same One who made it out of dust. This isn’t just about politics, or about racial equality, or about feminism, or about sexual orientation, or about laws of the land, or about constitutions, or about governors or presidents or prime ministers. This is about the heart.
I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, nor do I mean to sound soap-boxy, standing above all the world and preaching the end times, but, guys, this is bad. God has patience….insane, unbelievable, transforming patience. But this is bad. And, yeah, you got it, it’s only going to get worse.
If you don’t believe me, read the book of Revelation, or Matthew chapter 24, where Christ tells His disciples, “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains” (v. 6-8).
And this is just the beginning! The start. Of course we’ve had wars, and we’ll certainly, without a single doubt have many more. Yet this isn’t the end, but the beginning.
“Then they will deliver you (disciples) up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold…” (v. 9-13).
I can’t walk through the halls of campus without my senses being arrested by sexuality, stabs at God’s sovereignty, temptations to be lazy, or a call, which is more like a very quiet and mild threat to be “tolerant” and “accepting,” or else. I just realized yesterday that I can’t even walk on campus without having some of the men on campus try to make advances that I’m not at all comfortable with. I can’t feel safe on my own college campus. I struggle to be completely myself in Christ inside of my own classroom because the way I see the world through the lens of the Gospel is so absolutely different from the way most of my classmates and professors see it.
And I’m not saying these things to have you think “Oh, poor Hunter,” or “She doesn’t deserve that” or even “Gosh, Christians get offended so easily.” No, I’m saying these things because I’ve been reminded with even deeper clarity of what kind of a war this is, how real and tangible it is. And it’s intimidating, but never without promise of victory.
Several times throughout the past couple of days, as I’ve been racing to complete final assignments before break, as I’ve been playing basketball and having a blast and then being exhausted, as I’ve been talking to God about different things that I’m not quite sure how to deal with since I’ve never faced them before, I’ve been in conversations about politics, about the world around us, about the chaos. And every time I talk to someone, always a different person, I ask “Yeah, we’re talking about this and we know it’s crazy, but what can we do about it?”
And then I remember again that this is a war, and that God has given me a Sword, a Shield, Shoes, a Belt, a Helmet and a call and a will to fight and defend in this present darkness (Ephesians 6).
But what does this look like?
“Yeah Hunter, you talk about fighting and whatever but you never show us what it looks like.”
Well I’m glad you asked 🙂
It looks like a tree with roots of stone, firmly intertwined in the base of a Rock that reaches far above the chaos of a sea perpetually inundated by a hurricane. It looks like picking up my Bible and dying daily to my wants, desires, worries, and fears, refusing to give anything less than everything to Christ, the Creator of the heart that beats in my chest, the breath that dances in my lungs, the royal blood that stretches and flows and races through my veins. It looks like deliberation, determination, capability in absolute weakness, strength taken from fatigue. It looks like encouraging my fellow soldiers, my brothers and sisters in Christ, regularly talking to them about Christ and about what’s going on in our lives, challenging them, loving them. It looks like love that’s not cold, but a roaring, consuming fire. It looks like loving when love doesn’t make sense, being kind when the right to be cruel is offered, being compassionate when compassion seems to be a weakness. It looks like my face to the ground in reverence, offering everything up to the One who can handle it all. It looks like leaning on a God I can’t see, and standing firm in my faith in Him, because He’s given me the power to stand. It looks like falling into the arms of Christ when I’ve been dealt a injurious blow. It looks like failing but then getting up, failing again to get up further, to climb up higher, being taken up to the Rock that’s higher than I. It looks like exercising my ability as a daughter of the one true God and denying Satan the satisfaction of giving in to anything he might tempt me to do, because, unlike those without the Holy Spirit, without Christ, I do have a choice. It looks like waiting on Christ, waiting for Him to tell me what to do, waiting for Him to move, even though I might look indecisive or weak to the rest of the world. It looks like being aware of the lion in the room and no longer paying attention to the elephant, watching him as he prowls along the walls, in and out of the corners, but waiting for the Deliverer to open the door and let me out, as He promised. It looks like the exact opposite of what the world looks like right now, as we sit here, as we read, as we breathe, as we work, as we live.
(2 Peter 1:3-8, Hebrews 12:1-2, 10:22-25, 4:16, 1 Peter 5:8-9, Philippians 1:27-28, Ephesians 6, 3:11-20, 2 Corinthians 10:4-6, 7:5, 4:8, Romans 8, 5:3-5, Psalm 61:2-3, Psalm 62:1-8)
How desperately I want to look like that, live like that.
Christians, heads up. Pay attention. Be aware. There’s nothing passive about who you are, who You serve, who saved you and how He saved you, and what He’s called you to do. Nothing. Passive. Our minds should be prepared for action.
Yes. It takes discipline. You might feel like you’re being really strict or prudish or whatever. But that’s not important. The cost isn’t important. What’s important is not so much a “what” as it is a “whom”: the One who paid the price we couldn’t pay, so that we might live this life in victory, conquering the monsters and bringing down the obstacles that only He can conquer and bring down.
I would love to end this by talking about how awesome the basketball game was on Monday, how great it is to be on a team, how cool it is to be called a college athlete. I would really like to tell you about Sunday and about how much fun I had with Karly and my other people. I would really love to talk about how pumped I am to see Hannah, Beth, Christina, and all of the other Brocks, how unbelievably excited I am to see Jacob.
But that’s just not what’s on my heart, not what’s pounding at the door of my chest pushing to get out. I’m realizing that there’s no turning back, no way to blend in, no way to wash off the different-ness that characterizes me as a daughter of Christ. And I’m not trying to say I’m anything special. Without Christ, I’m not. Christ is the One who makes me worthy, who makes me beautiful, who makes me weak to make me strong, who shows me how to act, what to do, and who so graciously corrects and forgives me when my speech, decisions, actions, perspectives, attitudes, and understandings are so far from where He wants them. And He is patient.
I don’t know what’s going to happen or how this is all going to end, but God does, and He loves me, and He loves this world and its people. And that’s enough.
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.” —2 Peter 3:9-10, ESV