Giant fists and midget hearts, university graduates in things physical, kindergarten failures in things spiritual. Thus might we well describe our day and generation. There have been ages and eras in which people desired to bless the world but lacked the physical equipment. Ours is an age in which we have the physical equipment in abundance but lack the spiritual conviction to truly serve the cause of a world “wherein dwells righteousness.”
General Douglas MacArthur was never more right than when he said at the conclusion of the second great war that our world problem is theological. By this he meant that our great contemporary lacks are interior and spiritual, expressing themselves in deranged outward manifestations of personal conduct and public irresponsibility.
Ours is a chrome-plated, stainless steel, swift age. Indeed, our determination to be on the move may itself be a symptom of our inability to make peace within ourselves, our impoverishment of invisible spiritual supplies.
In the much closer context of family life, our physical comforts are beyond the wildest imaginings of earlier generations. Think of the comforts and conveniences in your own family: washing machines, swift automobiles, air conditioning, the internet and on and on, and yes, for the young, the ever-present, smart phone. But do these devices give us more time for each other? In so many families we lack the inner grace to listen to each other, to say nothing of being able to enter upon those times of silence in which a deep and unutterable communion of spirit with spirit occurs.
There is a scene in the life of Jesus which strikingly sets this forward. Jesus was waiting for the return of his disciples when he happened to meet a Samaritan woman, which meeting ended in one of the most touching conversations and consequences in the Gospels. While waiting, he met the woman of Samaria. They talked. Later his disciples returned. By that time, a crowd had come from the woman’s village to hear this man about whom she had said, “Come see a man that told me everything about myself.” His disciples, having brought food, were anxious for him to eat. He, however, said to the disciples, “I have meat to eat you do not know about.”
This is the ancient tension of the people of God. This is a dying world, and yet God’s people must speak to it the word of life. You and I must not flee or sidestep the responsibility of trying to make this world a little more like God would have it. Jesus did not say to his people to flee from the earth’s affairs but said rather, “Go ye into all the world.” He would have changed to his will all of the world, business, politics, pleasure, every area of life.
Suppose people will not hear? Suppose our best efforts fail? Suppose the wicked flourish and the righteous suffer? If the visible results are disappointing and paltry, we need invisible supplies, resources of the Spirit. This is overcoming religion, because it is based not on what circumstances are but upon what God is in our lives, what he is now and what we believe he will be in the future. “I have meat to eat ye know not of.” There are available resources of the Spirit that strengthen and sustain us in the hardest hours so that we discover we have strength we did not dream we possessed. The world cannot give this, but God can give it. This now of which I speak is the legacy of those who believe worthily. It is the kind of spiritual calm which you and I need and which is above strife and stress. This kind of spiritual supply is affected but not determined by outward circumstances.
I remember as a boy an old preacher using an example from Charles Lindbergh’s almost unbelievable flight over the Atlantic. He said Mr. Lindbergh reported that he came upon a fierce Atlantic storm. It was impossible to navigate through it. The clouds were dark and heavy. The dauntless young pilot turned the fragile Spirit of St. Louis to the right and then to the left, but in both directions the storm raged. Lindbergh chose to climb upward, and there he found that strange and cloudless calm at which air travelers often marvel.
This is possible in your daily living. You can move in the midst of pandemic and of difficulty and yet, in another sense, live above it. Thank God that there is an interior wealth of spiritual power and authority which is your birthright and by which you can determine your circumstance.
So many of us would discover, were we to appropriate this, that things which have left us defeated and wilted would fall into their proper place, and we would discover a sense of power and a sense of adequacy of which we did not dream ourselves capable. This is not something open to any secret few. This is a capacity and a power available to any person who will have it. It is a part of our spiritual birthright as the sons and daughters of God.
There is a power which is available to us which we can have if we will. And if our circumstances cannot be altered, what is more important is that this internal source can give you joy and peace in the midst of hard trials and heavy loads? This is available to you. You just need to ask God for it!