Have you ever sat on your back deck in the early evening hours and just listened to the crickets? If you are from the city, the cars and children and various other noises drown these out, but if you live anywhere where there are trees you can hear them. And they are impressive–a symphony of nature’s voices joining together in a huge and swelling chorus!
“…conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear.” (1 Peter 1:17b)
I believe God made the crickets, along with everything else in creation, to testify of Him. We in the modern world have insulated ourselves to a great degree from this. We have build airtight homes and shut and locked our doors and windows to keep out the elements. Certainly, in some neighborhoods this is necessary for safety’s sake, but it deprives us of the natural reminders God has placed in our world to help us remember who He is.
God is great. He is mighty. He has not only created everything (“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” Genesis 1:1), but also sustains it–Christ is “…upholding all things by the word of His power…” (Hebrews 1:3) Furthermore, we are accountable to Him–“And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13) These days we deride the ancients who worshipped the thunder and other natural phenomena in their ignorance, and while they failed to understand Him through nature alone, at least they understood that there is Someone greater than they to whom they must someday answer.
And that “someday”–death itself–was somehow much more real. I wonder if previous generations better understood that, “…all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls.” (1 Peter 1:24) Of course, people still die, but not in their homes. Today they typically die in hospices or hospitals, and are quickly removed to the morgue and then the funeral home. Even in cases of accidents, spectators aren’t allowed and the scene is cordoned off from closer view. By the time we get to the wake, the body has been transformed from someone we knew and loved to only an unrecognizable semblance of them. Somehow, we are more insulated, and thereby deprived, of the reminders of the inevitability of our own death–of our accountability.
Yet we cannot insulate ourselves from God’s reminders completely. Few of our homes keep the noise of thunder out, and lightning still strikes. Floods and hurricanes still occur, as do the occasional volcanic eruptions and tsunamis. And as terrible as the loss of life is due to any one of these terrible natural catastrophes, to the rest of us they are mercies because they remind us that there is a greater world we cannot control, the logical conclusion of which is that there is also Someone great enough to create them to whom we will someday answer.
So what is our response to be? We are told in I Peter:
“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind [get yourself together], be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on the Father, who without partiality [without favoritism] judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest [revealed to us] in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.” (1 Peter 1:13-21)
Help us never lose track of who and how great You are. Help us worship You; help us “conduct ourselves throughout the time of our stay here in fear,” knowing that we are “as grass” and fade away quickly. Amen.