Monday, July 13, 2015

Even if Creation is Uncreated

With three children somersaulting through my every second this summer, it has been difficult to get anything done, including my Bible study.  I almost always manage to get the "reading" part complete.  It's the "studying" part, the "basking in the silence" part that's jarringly interrupted by mommy's name being taken in vain for the thousandth time.

When my household is an off-key symphony of constant noise, that's when I crave the silence necessary to hear His still, small voice...when I understand best the words of Psalm 46 that command me to "Be still, and know that I am God" (v. 11).

In truth, I have needed to be still.  This space has sat untouched for the past two weeks with me unsure of what to say in a world both completely changed by a Supreme Court ruling yet not changed either.  For the past year, the news media and the entertainment industry have continued to loudly promote the extreme as the new normal while Christians around me have spoken more softly in tones of increasing hopelessness and fear.

On our weekly prayer walks the past two weeks, I've felt a country's anger pointed to me as a Christian.  Overnight, it seems, I have become the enemy of too many because of my faith.  When I feel the anger in their words, see the fire of disgust light their eyes, it would be so easy to give in to the fear, to let  hopelessness wash over me.

Only in His Word do I find a message of hope and security.  Psalm 46 speaks of God's creation in destructive turmoil against the backdrop of the unchanging, protective nature of God:

"God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging. Selah
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts." (v. 1-6)

At the sound of God's voice, "the earth melts." Think of the power in that statement.

The God who spoke in Genesis 1 and the earth was created. The God who spoke in a burning bush to Moses, yet it was not consumed. That same God speaks here--and the earth melts. I looked it up, and the word means just what it sounds like--"to dissolve, to melt away."*

One commentary described it this way: "the creation itself may seem to be uncreated."

Creation's destruction is already underway.  The Center for Biological Diversity states, "Our planet is now in the midst of its sixth mass extinction of plants and animals...We’re currently experiencing the worst spate of species die-offs since the loss of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Although extinction is a natural phenomenon, it occurs at a natural 'background' rate of about one to five species per year. Scientists estimate we’re now losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the background rate, with literally dozens going extinct every day."  At this rate, the Center predicts "as many as 30 to 50 percent of all species possibly heading toward extinction by mid-century."

The scholarly journal Nature published a recent report that confirms this data while saying if we simply assume the future's "rate of extinction will be constant; it is currently estimated to range from 0.01% to 0.7% of all existing species a year."

Look around you; read the news and weather reports--do you sometimes feel as I do, that God is "un-creating" his very creation? Does your mind ever spin out of control in wonder and concern?

There. Is. Hope.

Verses 7 and 11 repeat the same words (and repetition is what this woman needed to finally hear it): "The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress."

Though the world around us tumbles, though it looks like creation is unraveling at the seams, though it looks like wars and turmoil will overtake the world....

Through it all, God wants to be our "fortress." God wants to be our "stronghold." God wants to be our "ever-present help."

But God isn't going to force Himself on anyone. We must choose to rest in Him if we want to experience that protection.  And to do that, we first must stop living like we've lost the war.  We must stop living each moment in a state of "what if" fear about what is to come.

Instead, we must prayerfully cast all our cares upon Him, knowing that He is not surprised in the least by what is happening around us and believing that He holds us--His children--in the loving, well-guarded palm of His hand.

* Baker and Carpenter. The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament. p. 579.

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