The “word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12) “… and his voice is like the sound of many waters” (Revelation 14: 2)
So, why are we worried? Should we panic, just because Nouriel Roubini, the preeminent economist, portends a presumptive corona aftermath, featuring 10 economic plagues, in his May 5th article, ‘The Coming Greater Depression of the 2020s,’ with “any happy ending assumes that we find a way to survive the coming Greater Depression?” Roubini is not your typical ‘doomer’ and ‘gloomer.’ His assessments are thoughtful. I take him seriously.
Roubini paints a somber picture. He attempts to galvanize the world to come to the rescue. But the Spanish Flu of 1918 tells us not to repeat history. Are we now going to become radically ultra-nationalistic, xenophobic even? Will our United Nations become an organization of even more divided states? Are we heading toward World War III? Will Jesus Christ come down to rescue humankind from our own follies? Or, are we stuck having to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps?
The early church endures worse ordeals. Rome rules. In isolated exile, St. John on the prison island has a message. He has a job. From rocky Patmos he is lifted to the realm of the Spirit. He is again a pastor with power. Though Rome distances St. John away from his churches, the Spirit fills his eyes with sights; and, his mouth with speech; that have given sight and direction to believers ever since.
- John, weak from confinement, seize the strong, burnished feet of his Lord.
- John hears the authoritative voice of the Ruler of church and world.
- John at the mercy of the political sword of Rome, sees the sword of God in the presence of a radiating Christ throwing blessing on all.
The difference between St. John the prisoner and St. John the pastor is Christ, in vision and in reality. Visions, if they are truly visions, and not wish-fulfillment dreams, make things happen. Believers honor the words of Christ. Christ’s words cut through willful resistance, divide good from evil, overcome rebellion, and establish righteousness. (Eugene H. Peterson, ‘Revised Thunder … The Revelation of John & The Praying Imagination, 1988.’)
Let’s shine the God within us to the world all around us; but, not too intensely. Too much light, blinds; too much salt, stings (* Page 176; Kindle Locations 3598-3599).
Visions spawn new realities. Follow the voice of many waters! Roubini’s 10 Plagues will come and go. Calamities have a way of making us better people. And what happened to Rome? It collapsed. How long must we wait before Christ returns? Not long! But, how long is not long in eternity? No worries! God still sits on his throne.
With every good wish to you, I am,
Abraham A. van Kempen
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