For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Romans 1:18-20)
This passage crossed my mind more than a few times as my family and I vacationed for a week in Washington state. God’s glory was on display everywhere we looked—majestic mountains, rivers, waterfalls, the open skies. And yet, the local population seemed to suppress the eternal power and divine nature behind it all. Every shop in town was draped in rainbows. Even their churches joined in the blatant defiance of God’s law and created order by waving rainbow flags. I suppose the irony is lost on them. See Genesis 9:12-16.
In the local bookstore, I struggled to locate a Christian section. Eventually, I found it buried under a pile of Eastern meditation books and sixteen copies of Saul Alinsky’s Rules For Radicals. The only book in the tiny collection worth the handwritten price tag of $4 was Pilgrim’s Progress In Today’s English. I debated whether I should buy it. On the one hand, it’s one of the greatest works of literature ever written. On the other hand, I considered leaving it for someone else to find a diamond in the rough. My love for Bunyan’s allegory won out.
To be candid, a part of me channeled the Sons of Thunder each time I stepped off a mountain trail onto a city sidewalk (Mt 3:17). The godlessness of never-ending pride displays tempted me to pray, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” (Lk 9:54). But I thought twice. I knew Christ would be quick to rebuke me as he did John and James. The better part of me realized I was walking through the mission field. Trampling potential crops can only stunt their growth.
Instead, it’s best to leave judgment to God. Though we may wonder why he allows humanity’s depravity to utterly consume a nation, the Lord is patient toward us, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance (2Pe 3:9). His desire should be our desire. As Christians, our aim should be facilitating repentance, not destroying would-be converts.
I could almost hear the Lord say to me, “I have many in this city who are my people” (Ac 18:10).