What is desperation? When we send a text message that absolutely must go through, to us, that’s desperate. When we have to arrive at an appointment or suffer the consequences of an angry boss, that’s desperate. When we weigh ourselves trying to lose the last five pounds before an important engagement, that’s desperate. When we stand in line for nine hours waiting to purchase the latest smart phone on the day of its release, that’s desperate. When a cruise ship loses power in the middle of the ocean and passengers are forced to use red hazard bags because the onboard toilets no longer work, that’s desperate.
On February 15, 2013, a meteor weighing more than the Eiffel Tower traveling 41,000 MPH entered the earth’s atmosphere and exploded as it entered into Russian air space. The airburst and debris trail generated a light brighter than the sun. What was left of the 11,000 ton rock streaked across the sky until it crashed into Lake Chebarkul (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chelyabinsk_meteor). The shockwave caused damage to over 7,200 buildings in six different cities. Over 1,490 injured people sought medical attention. The energy released was approximately 440 kilotons of TNT (25 times more than the atomic bomb detonated over Hiroshima). Although the meteor impacted tens of thousands of lives, the American media spent very little time covering this catastrophic event. Why? Because in the mind of producers, a much more important story of desperation was developing in the Caribbean.
They spent several days covering how a cruise ship, the Carnival Triumph, was being towed back to port after a small engine fire rendered it powerless off the Coast of Mexico. The number one topic of discussion was how uncomfortable it must have been for many of the passengers to sleep on deck and be inconvenienced to the point of having to use red biohazard bags instead of the onboard toilets (http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/15/travel/triumph-cruise-crew). Both news stories broke the same week, but only one dominated the news cycles.
I called a friend of mine in Costa Rica and mentioned to him that I hadn’t heard much of what was happening in Russia because of what was happening the Caribbean. He couldn’t believe it. He replied, “What took place in Russia was an apocalyptic event! It’s all over the news down here. Our hearts hurt for those poor people struck by this tragedy.” What a contrast between the two worlds.
In a matter of seconds, someone’s life can change for eternity. As we learned in February, an entire nation can experience an apocalyptic impact in less than five minutes and without warning.
In order to reach a world with the heart of God, we must see the world as He sees it. We must push aside our [North American] paradigm and what it defines as urgent and embrace God’s agenda, what He sees as urgent. When we do, our efforts to reach a world that needs a Savior will bear great fruit. Jesus said, “As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work” John 9:4 (NIV). Paul writes, “I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed” 1 Cor. 15:50-52 (NIV).
Friend, we must recover our urgency and work while there is still time.