Time For God: May 24

Written by Paul Beckingham

Focus: 2 Timothy 4:3-4
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
Where is your “safe” place? When the dentist’s drill buzzes, whirs, and screams where do you find a tranquil space? Where do you discover a solace to sustain you?

In my mind, I often go to Diani Beach in Mombasa, Kenya. The sands are white and the onshore winds rattle the palm fronds. Their popcorn-clacking sounds are strangely peaceful against the long sighs of azure waves moving rhythmically toward the shoreline. A short way out stands a coral reef; beyond it, sleek sharks ply the quiet waters. The reef creates a safe pool where children swim and play. Their goggled eyes peer through blurred waters to discover a tropical fish tank. They swim among the many different shapes and colors of tiny fish nibbling their toes.

Out to sea, lie deeper—and more troubled—waters. In the Indian Ocean, off the coast of East Africa, Somali pirates rove over those waves according to their own desires. Their violent trade supports the warlords of Mogadishu and Hargeisa. Bitter conflicts blight a crippled nation. Fighting a clan-based civil war, Somalia shrank to become a failed state. Self-interest groups have itching ears, they [have] heap[ed] up for themselves teachers… [who have] turn[ed] their ears away from the truth.

As I write, a young naval Captain steers his Canadian warship into harm’s way. On patrol in troubled waters, he seeks to minimize the pirates’ threat. He faces daily threats much greater than a dentist’s drill. He is familiar with my “safe” place. He visited that beach often as a missionary kid growing up in Kenya. His faith sustains him today. He finds peace in God’s constant presence—especially in dangerous seas.

Inland, in Nairobi, his parents care for students in a mission school. His mother is a school counselor and his father is the Chaplain. They bring sound doctrine to their students. They teach them not to turn their ears away from the truth, and to avoid being turned aside to fables. The Gospel reveals that God rescues repenting rebels. Mutinous pirates and rebellious missionary kids can each receive God’s redemption. At Calvary, Christ’s atoning death provides a safe place for my rebel heart. His love sustains me. His truth corrects me. His presence fills me. His promise delivers hope.

What dangers threaten your tranquility today? Where do you seek sustaining peace?                    

God before me, God behind me/ God over me, God beneath me/ God within me, God without me/ The God of marvels leading me, Amen—Carmina Gadelica (III, 102-3).
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