Those who love Jesus know exactly why: He knows the human situation and predicament oh so well. He says in the gospel that we can observe various physical realities that can be seen or measured, like the direction of the wind and the formation of the clouds, and make predictions. We easily see the signs of the earth but so easily MISS the signs of the times and the seasons of the heart. The weather is a huge preoccupation for us: the huge weather pages in the papers, the length televised predictions of the weather, Tom Skilling, the weather guru and tech nerd; we can observe and make predictions about the environment based on ocean temps, rising sea levels, the extremes of weather and the ozone level. Yes, but do we SEE the “signs of the times?”
Clearly, Jesus seems to think that we miss these signs, or better yet, are blind to them. We have so much to be grateful for: technology, advances in medicine, material comfort, freedoms, education , and the list goes on. But there is a growing unease in our world and a growing loneliness because people are losing community and human warmth.
We need each other, we need to see and feel each other much more readily than we see the signs of the earth and atmosphere. Why can’t we see the connection between the growing violence, brokenness and our alienated spirits thirsting for human companionship? The violence on the streets is connected to the violent rhetoric on display for all to hear, the many clandestine drone attacks in countries we rarely think about, the gun industry, domestic violence, poverty and injustice, human rights violations, abortion. ALL violence, physical AND spoken ( words can be violent) is a complex web of expressions that divide and crush the human spirit.
In SEEING these signs, we are not to become discouraged, or worse, defeated because the answer lies within each of our hearts. God plants seeds of grace, waiting to take root and burst into life, within each our hearts.NO HUMAN BEING IS LEFT UNTOUCHED OR UNLOVED BY GOD, Who is a powerful presence within the heart. It is this PRESENCE that compels us to respond to these difficult “signs of the times,” in prayer…quiet, deliberate, tranquil prayer. Peace within the heart is the only antidote to these troubling times. It is this peace, a peace only God can give, that begins to build bridges between peoples, softens the tongue, SEES other solutions to our difficulties than endless, violent actions.
Our laws and government can help, but what is ultimately needed is a change within each of our hearts: conversion to a new vision. All the legislation in the world will never be and can never be the bottom-line solution, only changed hearts.