History is full of examples where the presence of warning flags and early markers of change did nothing to change the course or momentum of those playing the various roles. It wasn’t that they did not see the warning flags, they just ignored them. The early markers were on display yet things progressed as if they were never there. Willful blindness, blatant deafness, and arrogant movement of the limps that propel our bodies is more of a norm than we realize.
The people in John’s vision were no different. “The remaining men and women who weren’t killed…went on their merry way—didn’t change their way of life, didn’t quit worshiping demons, didn’t quit centering their lives around lumps of gold and silver and brass, hunks of stone and wood that couldn’t see or hear or move. There wasn’t a sign of a change of heart. They plunged right on in their murderous, occult, promiscuous, and thieving ways.” (Revelation 9.20, 21)
We can read in judgment yet for many of us this is our story! We are the ones ignoring the signs of life all around us. I am not an innocent either. In the darkness and quiet of the night I reflect on the signs that God and others have laid out on my table. I can see the impact of stress and my lifestyle. I can anticipate the price paid in relationships. I know where the markers are leading. Yet life goes on, choices remain in place, and the cycle spins faster and faster. There is only one outcome and I refuse to change course.
I know that it is much easier to talk about this than change. Your markers are so much clearer than the ones in my life. Rhetoric is cheap; action on the other hand is illusive. And in spite of this, or maybe because of it, I keep hearing the call. There is no such thing as a wasted response! We will fail in the future but that isn’t the point – responding is. So, what will it be today?