On watching the news this morning yet again I feel like I have had a nudge from God to pay attention to what is going on all around us currently in the world. Believe me, I have had utter aversion towards anything to do with current affairs and the news all my life. From a young age, I suffered daily nightmares about terrible earthquakes, and although I was born in a country, Spain, which as far as I am aware has not suffered, at least during my lifetime, any significant earthquakes, the mere vividness of my dreams made me shake to the core with fear and trembling at the prospect of ever experiencing such a terrifying circumstance. Now, the nightmares about earthquakes have become fewer and far between (although they are equally terrifying and at a devastating scale when they come) and have been replaced by nightmares of engulfing tsunamis which leave behind equal death and devastation. Go figure! My parents, even into my adulthood years whilst I was still living at home, tried to instil in me a sense of duty to keep up with the papers, the daily news and to try to have a general understanding of current affairs, to be aware of what is going on not just in my own little bubble but at a larger scale in order to be able to have a grown up conversation and to feel able to mix in different circles and bring something to the table.
The more they went on about me reading the papers, the bigger my aversion towards them grew. Then I moved to the UK and after marrying my English husband, just when I thought I left behind the days of utter guilt for being such an ignorant individual who refuses to be concerned with the ills of the world, my in-laws began to pick up where my parents left off. That didn’t work either!
Interestingly, in the last few years as my faith in Jesus Christ has grown deeper, I find myself miraculously drawn to anything to do with current affairs, news, natural disasters and so on. I know God brought this about because human effort failed before and no one has been able to make me do something I had such a clear aversion to. Now, when God puts something in your heart that no living soul has been able to imprint, you can bet your bottom dollar there is a clear purpose in it, a use, a function, a fruit that is to be nurtured, grown and harvested at the end of that process.
It is for this reason that when I felt the Lord’s nudge this morning to pay attention to the news again today, I knew better than to ignore it. As I turned onto SKY news, I was struck by the image below of a giant serpent-like creature called an oarfish which has only recently washed ashore on a beach in California. In fact, another one washed ashore on another Californian beach I believe only days later. These hideous and hellish looking creatures do resemble serpents and we all know or should know what the serpent represents in Biblical terms. Faced with that, I begun to think to myself: Can you imagine if on reading my daily portion of Scripture today, there is a mention of a serpent or something that may give me a spiritual dimension as to what it all means? What are the chances and if so, what is God trying to say to me, to us, to the whole world, if anything?
Together with the image shown on the news was given the commentary that many in the California area are terrified, because they see this oarfish coming to land as a sign that these creatures are fleeing from something they see coming, they sense is looming. Whilst you may be laughing your head off at this point, know that similar occurrences took place months prior to the Japan tsunami and earthquake of 2011. Now, we all know how prone California is to earthquakes and seismic activity be it at land or at sea, so then I begin to sense that this is indeed no laughing matter but more like a “sign”, like the signs and wonders God spoke off being so prevalent in the last days.
I turn off the TV and sit at my desk and open my bible where I left off yesterday and guess what?
Isaiah 27, 1
27 In that day, the Lord will punish with his sword— his fierce, great and powerful sword— Leviathan the gliding serpent, Leviathan the coiling serpent; he will slay the monster of the sea.
Some people look to the future, to scientific advance, to progress, to man ultimately trying to be God and finding a solution to all our problems. Truth is we will never be able to do this; we are human and imperfect and last time I looked, none of the humans I know were anywhere remotely near becoming perfect, faultless, flawless beings, starting with Moi. Yes, we find cures to diseases and we come up with awe-inspiring technological advances but parallel to all that progress is the sin that tails right behind us all creating a whole load of new challenges brought about by our own pride, foolishness and inability to learn from our mistakes. So you see, what we manage to achieve on the one hand with our smugness, we immediately render ineffective by the whole bundle of new problems we immediately have to face, having only just solved the previous ones, and more often that not these problems are the result of our own stupidity and inability to act responsibly towards our own selves, each other and the world around us.
But, fear not, for there is hope. We know that no matter how much tragedy or disaster comes upon us, and this is the message one has to walk away with from all of this, is that God is ultimately in charge of it all. That serpent-like fish that washed ashore may well be a warning of things to come in the natural realm, but we do well to hold onto God’s promise of what is also to come in the Spiritual realm: God will eventually kill “the serpent” or more poignantly to the news just reported, He will slay the monster of the sea.
Whether you believe in Him or not, Christ will ultimately reign victorious and the snake will be trampled upon and will exist no more, so don’t put your hope in your ability to run fast to beat the snake, the earthquake or the tsunami. Put your trust in the one that DOES HAVE all the answers, Christ risen, who overcame even death. He sits victorious on his throne knowing how to get through it all, knowing that God is so much bigger and greater than any disaster or fear. Hold on to HIM in these uncertain times we live in, cling to Him for dear life. Only He will provide you with the internal peace, wisdom, grace and fortitude to face what the days ahead hold for all of us, whatever that may look like.
I leave you with an image which beautifully captures what God’s promise is to us regarding the serpent’s threats and its constant assailing and putting us down so that we cease in our striving to follow Christ.