As I listen to various experts describing their action plan for the future, I often find myself in a metaphoric picture. Somehow simple words of action do not tell the whole story. The tactical facts fail to carry the emotional intensity required for success. Milestones and deadlines skip the X factor. Simple goals and timelines ignore the heart required even before planning begins. Metaphors try to capture those elements. Musicians talk of riding the wave, tapping into the power, and responding to a calling. Business strategist talk of winning the war, capturing share of mind, exposing the dark spaces. Even artist talk of the mystery if bring something to life which triggers an emotion which wasn’t there before.
In our sanitized world God never has intense emotions. Somehow our God is always gentle, polite, and kind. Bad people seem to get an eternal free ride. Injustice goes unanswered. Compassion seems, at times, to be mere words.
The record doesn’t paint this picture. In one situation God’s words sound like a general out of control. “Stars will fall out of the sky like overripe, rotting fruit in the orchard, and the sky itself will be folded up like a blanket and put away in a closet. All that army of stars, shriveled to nothing, like leaves and fruit in autumn, dropping and rotting! ‘Once I've finished with earth and sky, I'll start in on Edom. I'll come down hard on Edom, a people I've slated for total termination.’” (Isaiah 34.4, 5)
There is more to the story. God is passionately working to realize a world driven by compassion, community, and wonder. God is openly relentless, unwilling that any individual be excluded from this process. Yet there is a limit to this process. When a heart is hardened to a point where it will never change, an accounting is in order. God will deal with evil in its time. For now this isn’t our calling. We live in a world filled with evil and wonder, beauty and ugliness. Today we can be agents of the best.
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