Many, Lord, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?”
Let the light of your face shine on us.
Fill my heart with joy
when their grain and new wine abound.
In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, Lord,
make me dwell in safety.
- Psalm 4:6-8
“In a materialistic world which has tried to sever diplomatic relations with God, we have nowhere to retreat except within ourselves. We are like turtles in a traffic jam – the best we can do is to pull our heads into our shells and shut our eyes. But that’s a good way to get the life crushed out of us, as any dead turtle can attest. Man’s conflict with man has been but an expression on the human level of his conflict with God. Until man finds an armistice with God, he cannot know peace with his fellowman. If we are to be peacemakers, we first must make our peace with God.”
- Billy Graham, Day by Day with Billy Graham (October 18)
Okay, the dead turtle analogy breaks down if the turtle died of natural causes, in fact, anything other than death by vehicle crushing it on the highway. But I think we get the point.
I have observed the following story. The analyzing of the turtle’s thought process is clearly my guesses: A woman stopped in medium traffic, to the sound of various car horns honking on a relatively busy highway. She got out of the car to pick up a turtle with a shell about the size of a dinner plate, no small fry. She carried the turtle to the far side of the road, the direction in which the turtle had been travelling. By this time, people were rolling their windows down and telling the woman what she could do with the turtle. No one was being nice, and most of the suggestions were not physically possible. She then returned to her car and drove away, satisfied in a good deed done and a turtle saved. In the meantime, the turtle turned around and started walking toward the middle of the road again. The woman never stopped to think that the turtle thought that the double-yellow line in the middle of the road could be ripe bananas and the turtle was going to the middle of the road to dine on those yellow things. Or could the turtle, being a cold-blooded animal, have been going onto the road to warm its belly due to the road heat? This is problematic, in that the warmest spots on the highway are those where the tires travel the most in the lanes, thus squashed turtle.
We have recently had an election in the USA. That would cause any sane person to wish to run and hide our heads, in traffic or under the covers.
As the entire world tries to emerge from the COVID-19 restrictions on travel, each government will have to deal with diplomatic relations that used to be amicable and now seem strained, just to protect the people of that nation. Instead of dealing with firm facts in setting up those relations to get international traffic moving, it will be like juggling cubes of gelatin. I like lime with bits of fruit cocktail – not for juggling though. Juggling it would get messy.
But the one place anyone, even as individuals, can go and get the same diplomatic relationship, yesterday, today, or any time in the future… We can turn to God. He accepts us as we are, but He expects us to repent, turn from our sins, and follow Jesus. It seems so easy, but so many have looked at the requirements and have gone away, shaking their heads. It is not that easy. We want some semblance of control in our lives, but it is only by giving up that control that God grants us our freedom.
There is never a strained armistice with God once we are born-again. You know, the strained relationships where one or the other party can feel wronged and the deal is then off. Look at the hot spots for war in history. The Alsace-Lorraine area on the German-French border has been a spot in past centuries where the countries fought, each wanting the fertile ground on the banks of the Rhein River. Living in that general area for three years, I can see why. Today, there is fighting in Armenia and along the India-China border, and maybe still fighting in Kashmir between India and Pakistan, at least the area has been historically contested. The North Koreans blew up the negotiating facility, cutting off talks between North and South Korea. I think I have my facts straight here, but regardless, my point is that often diplomatic relations are often made like those made between Laban and Jacob. In Genesis 31, the Mizpah benediction was their agreement to not fight anymore as long as they drew a line in the sand and neither party would ever cross the line again. Thus, the real meaning of “The Lord watch between me and thee, while we are absent, one from another” is that they would kill each other if they had the chance – thus God had to stay on watch.
But with God, when we establish those diplomatic relations on God’s terms, we become brothers and sisters of Jesus.
Let us not sever diplomatic relations with Jesus. Let us invite Him into our hearts and let us live in peace with Him, forever.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.