There’s glitter on my keyboard and my fingers as I type because the boys are making Christmas decorations. Stars and trees and reindeer. And lizards. And frogs.
And I’m thinking deep and sore about how folks say that here in South Africa we’re the frogs getting too used to the slow rising heat and we’ll be boiled alive and it’ll be too late to jump. Because we’ve got power cuts and corrupt powers that be and strikes and skills shortages and threats and fears seem to rumble like thunder across the darkening twilight of the Highveld.
But I’m thinking, Don’t they see it? Don’t they see that –
There are frogs all over the world.
Frogs treading water languid in slow burning pots. Frogs that won’t jump because complacency has them drugged and drowsy. Like, frogs floating listless down endless aisles of Walmart and through the sweet sauce of opulence, blithe and blind to the 141 trillion calories that are binned every year. There aren’t a lot of frogs leaping shocked and sickened out of that boiling water.
And it’s what the enemy wants. That we would drift indolent into night. The tragic truth is that culture acclimatizes to imperceptibly escalating temperatures of deceit and depravity in all the cut corners of the globe. Because culture acclimatizes to all that sickens – in slick malls and parliaments, on dusty streets and porn sites, in shebeens and suave cocaine lounges. And all that sickens, sickens slowly. Degree by rising degree. Because when you finally fall, you never fall far.
I don’t do Facebook rants and Twitter slams but I’ve got to tell you I’m a little sickened too by the wave of pessimism that has washed up even into the church. Even amongst us – the people of hope. So believers? You who are the children of light and day because we don’t belong to darkness and night? You who have aligned your destiny with the King whose coming we’ll celebrate again this Christmas? Wherever in the world you’re reading this –
Would you shake yourself awake?
Would you remember that those who trust in the Lord will find new strength – the kind that runs without growing weary, the kind that walks and does not faint? They won’t drift parboiled and lethargic to certain death like proverbial frogs. They won’t bury their heads stupid in sand like ostriches. They will soar on wings like eagles. And eagles know the danger of the downward spiral – how sin sides with gravity and wings can crumple, crash and burn.
And eagles – they have vision. The experts say that, ‘If you swapped your eyes for an eagle’s, you could see an ant crawling on the ground from the roof of a 10-storey building… Objects directly in your line of sight would appear magnified, and everything would be brilliantly coloured, rendered in an inconceivable array of shades.’
Eagles scrutinize – swoop – soar. Because real vision is brave. It sees possibilities beyond problems. It sees the truth that God is biding his time. He still holds this bent-out-of-shape biosphere spinning slow through the stars. He hasn’t ended it all as I might if it was up to me and I saw the mess it was in. He has us here still – we who are desperate to be the difference in congress or constitution, in classrooms and clinics, in long queues of short tempers, in all the third world worry, in all the first world waste. He has us here still because he’s not done rolling out his plan for redemption.
So would you shake yourself awake and decide what you value? Because your values will determine your priorities, your priorities will determine your capacity, and your capacity is the strength out of which you will live where you live and fill your days with ways to sow hope.
Would you shake yourself awake and listen for your calling? Stay close enough to the Father to hear his voice – calling you. You’ll recognise his voice because it’s always the voice calling you to invest in people – in their soul needs, their whole needs – rather than in pleasure, possessions, and prestige. He’s calling you not to regurgitate what’s brewing bitter in you but to drink in and pour out the riches of faith, family, friendship and eternal future.
And would you remember that he who promised is faithful? He said –
… I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness – secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name. (Isaiah 45:3)
Maybe he’s calling each of us – this Christmas and always – to leave the glitter of his glory on everything we touch or try humble – wherever in the world we are.
. . .
And maybe buy someone you love a copy of Dragons and Dirt: The truth about changing the world – and the courage it requires, on Amazon or Kalahari, or right here on dalenereyburn.com through PayPal or Postnet. Half the proceeds of every book sale will go towards Botshabelo’s Preschool Teacher Training Programme in Olievenhoutbosch and other under-resourced communities in Gauteng. Because really, we can change the world.