Arab Spring, Japanese Spring?
The western media have begun to banter about the suggestion that this winter’s political upheaval in the Middle East is like a spring thaw, warming heretofore rigid dictatorial or monarchical governments into pliable, receptive fields for democracy. The “Arab Spring” they call it. First Tunisia and Egypt—now Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, Jordan and possibly Libya. Is it an Arab Spring, a new opportunity and season for the will of the people? Allah akbar! (“God is good!”) is their cry. But nobody is calling the calamity that descended upon Japan three weeks ago a “Japanese Spring.” While it’s true their famous cherry blossoms have begun to flower up and down that crippled nation, the immensity of their earthquake-tsunami cataclysm has only been compounded by the nuclear hemorrhaging at their Fukushima power plant. Will there be a “springtime” in Japan’s future? Given their dogged industriousness and national determination (Gambari masho! [“Let’s take courage together!”] is the historic Japanese cry in the face of a massive challenge) it is hard to imagine otherwise. But then again, maybe in Heaven’s perspective, it isn’t an Arab Spring or a Japanese Spring. Could it be that in God’s eyes we are poised upon an “Earth Spring”—an entire civilization simultaneously being brought to an historic openness to Christ and the everlasting gospel before he returns? On this International Student Sabbath here at Andrews University, could it be that the operative cry of Holy Scripture is this passionate appeal of God: “‘Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:22). And if this is an Earth Spring, then wouldn’t this be the unprecedented season in earth history for the mobilization of an entire generation of Seventh-day Adventist young. New, bold, radical missionaries “into all the world” for the Kingdom of God. The Radicals. There never will come a season when they are not God’s most strategic endgame, will there? Are you still mentally debating whether or not God has called you personally to “go into all the world” for him? You watched as 283 others made that commitment a few Sabbaths ago. But you’re still not sure God means you? Here are two suggestions for dealing with your inner struggle: (1) find someone you trust to talk to and pray with—sometimes a listening ear and a wise heart are just what you’re needing to come to a personal decision; and (2), put your finger on Isaiah 45:22 and ask God how he would have you help him fulfill his passion for a saved world. If your heart is open to God and willing to follow wherever he leads, then you needn’t fear that he’ll leave you hanging in limbo indefinitely. Sometimes the very struggle is a part of Christ’s strengthening your own commitment. Who knows—this may turn out to be your own “Spring,” too.