I agree with Peter Marshall’s essay below, that we will need to cling to the Rock as the waters of this insane world and government attempt to wash us away and out to sea.
By Peter Marshall
The first stanza of William Butler Yeats’ great 1919 poem “The Second Coming” bears repeating on this New Year’s Eve, as we await the soon-coming of 2010:
“Turning and turning in the widening gyre
the falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
the ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.”
These words ring even more true today than they did when Yeats first wrote them, following the blood bath of World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. The “falcon” — a bird of prey — cannot hear the “falconer” – the one who is supposed to control him. This I interpret to mean that those who kill and destroy are out of control. America as we have known it in decades past does indeed seem to be “falling apart.” The “center” — the voice of moderation and sensibility — is not “holding.” Increasingly, whether we think of the irresponsible financial bailouts and stimulus spending of the Obama Administration, accomplished with the connivance of a Congress that ignores the will of the people and seemingly cares only about lavishly wasting taxpayer money on its own pet home district projects, or the foisting on the American people (with the cooperation of an amoral judicial system) of an immoral and unwanted homosexual marriage, the public is being stampeded by the immorality of extremists.
‘Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world” — one thinks of global terrorism, the Somali pirates hijacking ships on a regular basis, suicide bombings in Iraq and narco-terrorism in Mexico almost on a daily basis — the list goes on and on.
“Everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned.” I was told recently about babies being openly hawked for sale with alarming frequency in some countries, and we hear constantly now about the international sex trade — a major component of which is the kidnapping and selling into slavery of children. Innocence is being destroyed.
“The best lack all conviction.” We are suffering from a lack of passionately committed conservative leadership. Many of our leaders who are otherwise qualified morally (and perhaps even spiritually) lack the fire of inspiration to lead a renewal and revival movement that would bring the nation back to its founding values. Meanwhile, “the worst are full of passionate intensity.” How true that is! We have an Administration staffed in many of its top leadership positions with people that are passionately Marxist in their worldview, determinedly pursuing their socialistic agenda to expand government takeover and control of the greatest free enterprise system in world history. And we are all well aware of the passion with which the homosexual lobby advances their agenda.
Where then, is our security to come from as we enter the New Year?
Years and years ago, I used to take groups from our little church on Cape Cod up into the wilds of Maine on four or five day canoe trips down the St. Croix or the Machias rivers. None of the tame and placid Allagash or Kennebeck rivers for us! Much of the fun of those trips was navigating the white water rapids that were fairly frequent in both rivers. Of course, there were spills occasionally. If you failed to skirt a boulder and got hung up on it sideways, your canoe’s upriver gunwale would go under, the onrushing river would quickly fill it, and you and your partner would be in the river. The gear was always tightly lashed into the bottom of the canoe, so you tried to grab the paddles and any other loose items that might float downstream, while at the same time hanging on to the canoe and staying anchored to the boulder. Trying to do all that at once was a neat trick, but you quickly learned that that rock was your stability and security. You stayed anchored to it while you and your partner figured out how to get the canoe to shore, so you could empty out the water, collect everything and resume your trip downriver.
In the turbulence of that river, the rocks and boulders around which the river rushed in its wild passage to the sea were the only stability and security.
That’s the way it seems to be, as 2009 fades into 2010. The world rushes madly on, in its immorality and terrorism and governmental self-destruction, and we must learn to cling to our God as a rock.
On the day that God delivered David from the hand of Saul, he wrote Psalm 18. Verse 2 says: “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” And verse 31: “For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God.”
And Psalm 62:2: “He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.”
The Lord God stands outside the spinning craziness of our fallen world. He is outside of both space and time, for He created both space and time. He is the Everlasting Rock, solid and immovable throughout all eternity. To put it in terms of the rapids and the boulders again, He is the immovable and solid Rock, around which the fallen world rushes on toward Judgment Day.
When we feel as if we are being swept downstream by the rush of events in our lives, when we feel as if our future financial security is being washed downriver by the insane fiscal policies of our government or our corporation, then we must hang on to the Rock that is our God.
Jesus Himself expresses this in Luke 6:47-48: “Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.”
Come to Jesus in 2010, hear His words, and do them. Jesus is our Rock, and we must determine that as we move into an extremely unstable New Year we will cling to Him and stay anchored to Him at all costs. Only in this way can we remain calm and secure in the midst of whatever turbulence may occur in our lives.
It is my belief that in the days to come we will have to develop a greater dependency upon the Lord Jesus than most of us Christians have been used to.
But, not only is the Lord our Rock and our stability, He also has power over the turbulence and the storms of our lives — He is able to still them with a word. In the Gospel of Matthew (verses 24-27) the story is told of the disciples caught out on the Sea of Galilee in a nasty storm, and their boat was taking on water. Jesus was asleep in the stern. “And they went and woke him, saying, ‘Save us, Lord; we are perishing.’ And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.”
The clear message here is that when the storms of life become too much for us and we cry out to Jesus, He will undertake for us, calming things down and bringing us out into peace.
Hymnwriter Edward Mote, brought up in total ignorance of God’s existence in the streets of London by pub-owning parents who neglected him, came to understand this well: Let the second and third stanzas of his famous 1834 hymn “The Solid Rock” buttress our faith as we turn the page of our lives into 2010
“When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
His oath, His covenant, and blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.”