Our worship leader at Victory Christian Fellowship is a deeply talented young man, able to play multiple musical instruments, and equally able to draw the gathering of worshipers reverently before the throne of God.
While I appreciate these qualities in him, I appreciate even more his sensitivity to the fact that, as Christ-followers, we have a rich heritage of God-honoring music on which to draw, when the current trend is to feed the congregation a diet of what is on the radio this week. It is incumbent upon us to find the richness of worship both in what the Newsboys have to say, and in “Great is Thy Faithfulness.”
Anchors and Cornerstones
Consider the truth of this 1800s hymn from Priscilla Owens and William Kirkpatrick.
Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
when the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain,
will your anchor drift, or firm remain?
We have an anchor that keeps the soul
steadfast and sure while the billows roll;
fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love!
Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: ‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.'” – Isaiah 28:16, ESV
Isaiah 28:16 is another of the great Messianic prophecies in the Hebrew scriptures. It promises a Savior, one who is steadfast, unmoving, one from whom we can draw sure direction, a solid, tested, cornerstone. The cornerstone is that first foundation stone that is placed, and it is laid as precisely as possible so that the entirety of the remaining construction project can be trued-up to that one, perfect stone.
Jesus is that promised cornerstone. One telling reality about this prophecy is that once it was delivered, God waited 700 years to fulfill it. Clearly God was not “in haste.”
In Crisis Mode
Contemporary society is always in a hurry, and seemingly in non-stop “crisis mode.” When I was in elementary school, I recall being terrified of freezing to death because we were taught of the global cooling “crisis” and the looming ice age. We had to do something right away to avert the crisis that was bearing down on us. It never arrived.
Conversely, today, social media is rife with nasty word-wars over the new “crisis” of global-warming. The polar ice is going to melt, and Manhattan Island was supposed to be underwater five or ten years ago.
In my lifetime, I have lived through a paper-shortage crisis, an electricity crisis, a gasoline shortage crisis, an ongoing morality crisis, an AIDS crisis, multiple hurricane/tornado/earthquake crises, a housing crisis – well, you get the idea. When everything is a crisis, nothing is a crisis.
A crisis well-presented generates an atmosphere of urgency, and elevates the chances of capturing your target’s responsiveness and sense of obligation. In the workplace, this has become known as “Time Panic.”
Did you see my email with the big red exclamation point? Yeah, I need that spreadsheet by noon!
Really? Or what? The company goes bankrupt? We all die? My cat will bite my leg? What is the applicable crisis here?
Our obsession with immediacy has led to work atmospheres in which individual needs trump group goals. In this, my need outweighs your focus and overrides the inappropriateness of me interrupting you. This practice has led to the new workplace specialization – “Interruption Management.”
To combat interruptions, and the corresponding drops in quality and productivity, some companies are implementing mandated “Quiet Times” in which no one is allowed to interrupt anyone else for any reason. For example, we may set a Quiet Time from 8:00 am to 11:00 am and another from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.
God, Crisis Mode, and Time Management
I can think of no crisis, true crisis, greater than humanity’s need for salvation from sin, salvation from ourselves. Yet from the time Adam and Eve bit the forbidden fruit to the arrival of Jesus, we have literally thousands of years to account for.
Crisis? Did God not understand the immediacy of the need?
But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law. – Galatians 4:4, NASB
God did not “make haste,” yet we know that God always keeps his promises. His watch just ticks differently than ours does. There was a time when the world was not ready for a Savior, and there was a time when we were. God knew that the “fullness of time” had come. We were ready.
If we ignore this reality, we run the risk of dashing out in “crisis mode” and leaving God in the dust, rather than waiting for him to lead his people. Zeal is commendable. Zeal, however, not tempered by the leading of God’s Holy Spirit, and oriented to the Cornerstone of Jesus Christ, is a shotgun in the hands of an infant.
Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. – Isaiah 30:18, NASB
Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD! – Psalm 27:14, ESV
Jesus, the Cornerstone, the Anchor is risen and governing from the right hand of the throne of God Almighty. There is no crisis, no crisis whatsoever, but that he is still in control.
[Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. [and hang on to this truth –>] And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. – Colossians 1:15-17, ESV
Jesus is holding it all together. Indeed, he upholds the universe by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:3). Nothing is going to fully fly apart at the seams until Jesus lets go. And nothing is going to hold together once he does!
We have an Anchor, a Cornerstone. The sky is not falling. Rest in the Lord, my friends. Rest confidently in Jesus.