When I was about 8, I was ready for the Second Coming to happen. This may have been influenced by my family’s cross-state move from Missouri to Texas, which pretty much felt like the end of the world anyway. I figured with my recent baptism I was on good terms with Jesus and was therefore ready for some final judgment. Ten years later I felt ready again, partially since I had started college and had no idea what I wanted to do with my future. Not having to pick out a career path sounded like a great side benefit to the millennium. Now that I’m still waiting and the heavens have yet to reveal the Son of Man on earth again, I’ve relegated the anxiety of last day preparations (hello, food storage) to the back shelf. However, with recent events like the terrorist attacks both domestic and abroad, I can’t help but give pause to the idea of what the “Last Days” really means.
The scriptures speak of “wars and rumors of wars” and I acknowledge that this fits the bill. With shifting seasonal patterns and unprecedented natural disasters, “the earth trembl[ing] and reel[ing] to and fro as a drunken man” makes sense. I hesitate to go too far into the signs, given counsel about dangers in speculating too much about signs and timelines. However, I’m at the point of aching. I ache over senseless brutality and gridlocked politics that make change near impossible. I ache for a time of peace, wondering what kind of world in which I might someday be raising children.
At the risk of getting too glum and wrapped up in misery, I want to share a piece of music that has given me peace. I’m a theatre nerd, but this particular show has been making waves on Broadway (and I’ll bet most of you have at least heard it mentioned, if only by name). I’ve been listening to the cast album obsessively since NPR streamed it in September and, while not all the songs may be for this specific audience, I bet you’ll like this one. First, some background. The show is based on Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton. This song is a discussion between Hamilton and George Washington (who has been a mentor to Hamilton) where Washington announces he’s cutting off his presidency at two terms (and why). Give it a listen:
In case you don’t have the time (or desire) to watch it, Washington’s lines where he quotes Micah 4:4 have given me some peace. This entire chapter of Micah discusses what Zion will be like in the last days, with the famous line from verse 3 about “beating swords into plowshares” and “spears into pruninghooks.” Reading about every man sitting “under his vine and under his fig” tree makes me long for simpler times. And they’re coming, however long and arduous it may be to get there. We’re promised that “none shall make them afraid,” so I’m clinging to those promises as I look to the future. Granted, it’s not an excuse to give up now and wait for Christ to sort everything when He gets here. We’re still responsible for what we are doing now as good stewards, but I take comfort in the command to fear not. To have faith. America’s founding president envisioned the nation as one of peace (he really did quote Micah 4:4 almost 50 times in correspondence), and God has promised that we’ll have peace again. During this time of year where we celebrate the Prince of Peace, I try to remember that promise, no matter what the millennial timing might be.
– – –
What gives you peace during turbulent times? Are you a Hamilton fan? What are you doing now in preparation for the Second Coming?