I just came back today
I just came back from the storm
Well I did not know within
But I was sufferin’
Sufferin’, for some love to keep me warm
It was so cold and lonely
The wind was cryin’
The rain was tearin’ me up
In From the Storm
- Jimi Hendrix
"Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'- and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked… Rev. 3:17
I used to hear my grandmother say that some people didn’t have enough sense to come in out of the rain. I think that describes America. For a few brief moments of sanity after 9/11 we came in from the storm. People were helping one another and even media people had an uncharacteristic tinge of humility in their voices. For a short time we were like the prodigal son and remembered that we’d been eating with the pigs and denying it in our pride. We realized that the America we’d lifted up in our hearts could be brought painfully down. For that short time we became reasonable, humble and human again.
But the moment passed fleetingly and the ancient curse of the stiff neck that no amount of Ben Gay can heal crept back into the collective body. We lost the confessional tone we’d gained by realizing we needed to come in from the storm and went back to forgetting that we were ever in one. Once again we lost our minds and counted it a small thing since we did it as a nation.
A little boy inside a dream just the other day
His mind fell out of his face and the wind blew it away.
- Jimi Hendrix
Yes, our minds fell out and the wind blew them away. We were then like people who had observed our faces in the mirror of an aborted humility before patience could have its perfect work, only to turn around and call for Alzheimer’s to come and claim us once more (James 1:24).
For too long America has been stretched like a single mother’s paycheck in wars we don’t belong in. Yet several weeks ago even that did not stop our government from selling wolf tickets to Russia over Georgia. What would have happened had they called the bluff?
Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. – George Washington
Obviously the city of Washington harbors a different spirit than the man whose name it bears. It is a city of pride in love with an artificial appearance manufactured like a face lift paid for by other people’s money, a face that can’t see its own ugliness nor smell the vomit on its skirt.
When a person or government has divorced itself so radically form reality it doesn’t take kindly to anyone who tries to warn it of its folly. We have only to read the life of any prophet for proof. But those who won’t come in from the storm themselves lack power to withstand those who now see the storm as normal. So last week when Hurricane Ike sped toward Texas, the American people showed their spinelessness by scrambling for gas the same way Haitians fought over care packages in Ike’s wake.
Sure, I know we need gas. I was close to empty myself. But there is a right kind of pride that needs to be maintained if we are ever going to be anything but door mats for government. Regardless of our needs, as real as they are, what good are we if we act like people who run and grab in mobs when we think we might suffer a little deprivation. It’s disgraceful. Go and read Judges 7: 4 -7. Based on the character of those who lapped their water instead of getting on their knees to drink, God chose three hundred men to deliver the people. It looks like in America everybody gets on their knees to drink, certainly not to pray.
Yet, it is the very fact that these kinds of things are always in our faces that I am encouraged. Are you sick of hearing bad news? Does it always appear that the stupid rule the earth and hope deferred makes your heart sick? Do you, having enough sense to come in out of the rain, sometimes wonder if coming in from the storm is possible for such a storm loving nation? The very prevalence of such sanity warps point to the sovereignty of God. He never has cast His pearls before swine. Since any renewal must come from the Spirit of God it will not come obviously.
The world has us all convinced that any kind of betterment must come by way of science or technological advancement. Anything else is foolishness to it (1 Cor. 2:14). And that’s just the way God wants it. While they’re looking for deliverance in all the wrong places God works like the hands on a clock. You can watch them but you can’t see them move. But before you know it the big hand is on the 12!
And because of that same sovereignty "I know that even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace." – Rom.11:5
Not according to the plans of any man, no matter how brilliant or sophisticated, but according to the election of grace, completely outside our greedy little hands. A plan that was never in danger of subjection to the storm, for it’s maker created every storm.