Most people who were alive at the time will remember the Boxing Day disaster of 2004. At the same time as we in the western world were enjoying the fuzzy warmth of the Christmas season with family and friends, the infamous South Asian tsunami ripped it’s way along the Indian Ocean and battered the coastlines of nine nations claiming the lives of more than 250,000 people and leaving millions more, bereft and homeless. Scientists are now informing us that not only did this event alter the landscape of Asia but it actually caused the planet to wobble on its axis.
Yes you saw that correctly, ‘wobble on its axis’! When I first read that I couldn’t help but think of the words recorded in Haggai Ch2: 6-7 “This is what the Lord Almighty says. In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come.”
I’m not trying to imply that the events of 2004 were some kind of literal fulfilment of Haggai chapter 2 but when the writer to the Hebrews picks up Haggai’s words and this theme of shaking in Hebrews chapter 12 he reminds us that we ought to stand in awe of the One whose voice is so powerful it shakes the earth as it did when the law was given on Mt Sinai. He also informs us that there are temporary things which can and will be shaken and removed, even the earth and heavens, but at the same time there is a Kingdom that cannot be shaken and is destined to remain eternally.
Who would attempt to deny the shaking that is going on all around us in these days. I’m not referring primarily to the natural disasters, which do seem to appear with increasing frequency, but to the shaking of things much more a part of every day life. Wherever we look, in every area, whether it be political, economic, social, moral or religious there appears to be a whole lot of shaking going on. In our digital world, which is so interconnected, it seems that what happens on one side of the planet very quickly ripples around the globe.
The result is that many people find they are looking out at a rapidly changing world which is almost unrecognisable, and find themselves asking the question, ‘how did we get here?’ ‘and how did so much change so quickly?’ Boundaries and principles which were once so clearly defined and accepted have become fluid in a world where truth has been exchanged for tolerance. If even those with decades of life experience find today’s world disorientating what effect must it be having on those whose moral and spiritual faculties have not been calibrated by years of syncing with the presence and word of God? Our youth need prayer not condemnation, and nothing short of a massive encounter with God and His Truth can reorientate their moral and spiritual lives.
So how are we to cope with a shaking world? Well our identity and security are meant to be rooted elsewhere, namely in the eternal kingdom we have already mentioned. This kingdom is both
present now but still to come. Christians are part of something which is both, now and not yet. While we haven’t as yet experienced the full reality of this kingdom it has most definitely been established and it’s true citizens draw purpose, perspective, security, certainty and every other thing they require from it.
The very word kingdom implies there is a King. One who rules and leads the way. He has already communicated the culture, values and unstoppable nature of the kingdom through His word and by modelling them among us. As we live in constant fellowship with Him the very essence of the kingdom is constantly downloaded to the soul by the Holy Spirit and regular upgrades are readily available simply for the asking. His kingdom is not of this world. It is in it but not of it, not subject to it and not effected by it. His kingdom is built on truth, righteousness, justice, grace, mercy and love and is unshakeable and enduring. Unlike every other created thing it will remain along with its King and citizens when everything else is no more, even time itself.
In light of this there should be a growing assurance, a deep settled peace and sense of security in the heart of every true believer. Not a false peace or security based on the absence of trouble or reliance upon the shakeable things of time. Instead an inner calm and certainty that comes from a proper kingdom perspective and whole hearted surrender to the King who always finishes His projects and whose eternal will and purposes are never ever derailed.