Seeing scripture lived out brings grief and rejoicing, for all of life is revealed in the holy pages. Seeing scripture lived allows me to taste and feel Truth as reality. Simply knowing truth does not make it our personal reality. That the King of Kings desires to be our Guide and Guard for life is a Truth I must choose to live before it becomes my reality.
Much of my week involves working with precious souls caught in dead-end realities, wrapped in lies they believe to be truth. Often their desires and dreams reflect ones my heart understands, but right choices usually demand resisting wrong. When Truth can not be seen, it can not be chosen. Harsh realities of poverty and hopelessness permeate our community; the temptation to take the most visible path to prosperity is great. The gold chains, the flashy cars and even the lavish giving of the drug lords take many captive. The folks I work with, my friends, choose what they know…not understanding what they do to themselves and others, not seeing another path.
In my students and even in my ‘middle-class’ world, I see the history of Tyre lived out in vivid, heart-breaking reality. The book of Ezekiel gives words of doom and grief over the city of Tyre. This amazing city believed it had it all: Power and influence, beauty and collaboration. Every nation traded with Tyre, receiving satisfaction while building the city to god-like status, elevating its self-pride. As we read, we learn that the power of Tyre flowed from the beautiful fallen angel, Lucifer–the one who said ‘I will be as God.’ The judgment of God begins when Tyre looks at the broken gates of Jerusalem and proposes plundering that city. God said–and did by the way, ‘I will destroy the walls of Tyre and wipe the very ground of this city.’ It is deadly to be guided by power and greed. There is no guard for those who go their own way. The sad reality for Tyre became the destruction of all who partnered with her.
In contrast, living Truth brings a beautiful reality. Brother Andrew, born Andy van der Bijl in 1928 in the Netherlands, helps us see what choosing God as Guide and Guard looks like. This feisty brother-in-Christ chose to give up his self-designed adventures to lead others to the reality of redemption. Finding himself in a hospital and awed by the cheery nature of the nuns who cared for him, he asked their secret. The sweetness of one reply became the flavor of Brother Andrew’s life:
“Why Andrew, you ought to know the answer to that–a good Dutch boy like you. It’s the love of Christ.” Pointing to the Bible next to his bed, she said. “But you are teasing me, aren’t you? You’ve got the answer right here.”
His mother’s Bible lay next to him, but he had never opened it. Deciding to explore those scriptures opened the door to a life of adventure for Andrew that revealed the power and purpose of living Truth. Smuggling Bibles through Communist checkpoints in his little VW Bug, orchestrating the delivery of a million Bibles to a China beach, a million to Albania, a million to Russia…and opening the eyes of countless souls to what living for Christ in Christ really means, Brother Andrew is a picture of the reality we need!
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, we must seek to see Truth lived out; we must seek to be the Truth in the lives of the lost. Check out the story of Brother Andrew, share your story!
Greed and power drive many in our world. It is easy to condemn it in the gang world; the drug overlords who flash their gold chains and luxurious cars. But greed and discontent flood every strata of society. We excuse and defend our own lusts for a larger home, a better lifestyle and more economical (but appealing) vehicle. No doubt Tyre felt good about the economic prosperity it wrought for others and saw its own blessings as rightly deserved. Chasing its own visions, Tyre puffed up just like we see today. Those in gangs feel good about lavishing gifts on those in their ‘hood. The prosperous thugs enjoy their elevated status. We in middle-class America find pleasure in providing for our families and friends. We applaud our mission-minded work and puff up on what we have done. The angel of light uses a persuasive tongue to guide us…but no guard prevents the empty devastation the wrong choices ultimately produce. Love builds up! Let us build one another and build our communities on Truth!