People’s reactions under stress or attack are as varied as there are trees. Some stand tall and firm, holding to what is forever true. Others blossom and grow, almost as if the raging adversity was the very ingredient they had been missing in the time of their youth. Still others fall back into a stunted position; the marks of the storm visible to anyone caring to look, the urge for flight still very real, all the time knowing in their heart of hearts that they have lost any and all willingness to stand tall in the future.
What many forget, myself included, is what is at stake. In the midst of the battles it can become clearer, yet it is still often hard to grasp. Politicians often wonder about loyalty from their own party when they take positions and find themselves alone in the midst of the conflict. With so many swayed by whatever is the theme of the day it is hard to know who you can trust! Just when you least expect it one of your allies can abandon the cause. Even sacred cows, taxes for politicians, expense savings for corporate types, and getting the immediate job done for anyone, are sacrificed on a whim.
Sometimes there are those who realize what is at stake. John saw one scene. “A third Angel followed, shouting, warning, “If anyone worships the Beast and its image and takes the mark on forehead or hand, that person will drink the wine of God’s wrath…” (Revelation 14.9) The past few weeks I have seen others.
The question that haunts me in the quiet of the morning is this. You and I hold values close to our heart. How precious are they? Could I abandon them without a second thought? How important are they?
John’s third angel is shouting, intensely warning others from my viewpoint. Given what I see at risk can I do anything less? If you see people risking lives, relationships, and self on the grail of indulgence, what is your calling? Our life swings on the answer.