There is something about the mindset of an overseas missionary that would be good for us American Christians to learn. It struck me that missionaries don’t go into a country and try to change the entire governmental structure all at once. That’s not even on their agenda.Over time, their work may lead to positive changes in the country’s culture (See Hudson Taylor, William Carey, Adoniram Judson). But missionaries don’t complain about a country’s culture, but seek to minister in it as it is.
This line of thought led me to wonder whether the controversialists were concerned for me as a brother in Christ. I began to ask whether they loved me, because if they really loved me, they would want to help me see the benightedness of a position they thought was so awful, they would want to liberate me from the bondage of bad ideas, and their desire to help me in these ways would surely cause them to use a different tone of voice and a better method of argumentation.
I’m a naturally lazy person. As a kid I put the “S” in slothfulness. When I was 12, my dad put a tetherball pole in the back yard for us kids. He had dug the hole and was pouring the cement and asked me to hold the pole for a few minutes. You’d have thought he’d asked me to bear the world on my shoulders. I was suddenly overwhelmed with a wave of energy-sapping tiredness. I stood there sighing and slumping, like I’d been doing hard labor for 16 hours in the desert heat. Here was my dad – dripping with sweat from digging and mixing cement – and I couldn’t even hold a pole for three minutes. I wasn’t that far from being a zombie.
I care little about a discussion on Obama, Romney, or any third-party candidate. What I do care about are those professing to be believers being swept up in worldly fear. The “they” in Isaiah 8 is not talking about Gentiles that are not part of the covenant. The “they” in Isaiah 8 is talking about people like the king of Judah that is wringing his hands in fear because two powerhouse nations are now in cahoots and seeking to terrify Judah.