The Berlin Wall All Over Again?
Like teetering dominos, the Islamic giants of the Middle East fill our news. Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Iran—will Saudia Arabia, Jordan, Syria and the smaller nations be exempt from the sweeping unrest that has already spread across the desert sands of these neighbors? Regarding this time of immense instability and uncertainty in the Middle East, I ponder these two observations. Number one, clearly this political and social upheaval is being fueled by the young of these Islamic societies. Banded together and spurred on by the social networks, Facebook and Twitter, it is dominantly the young who are the driving force behind the revolutionary upheavals. The YouTube clips, the nightly news coverage, the tweeted messages crisscrossing the region in nanoseconds—belong to youthful faces and voices. I wonder what would happen would the young of Christianity, the young of Adventism, the young of this university—were they to band together and become an indomitable force for the God of the universe. What will awaken the sleeping giant of the young here in the West—do you wonder, too? My second observation grows out of the memory of how stunningly fast the “iron curtain” of communism came down in 1989. What the world and even the church had resigned themselves to—an unbreachable wall of separation between the East and the West—literally overnight collapsed. And lands forbidden, as it were, to the everlasting gospel were suddenly opened and accessible. And for one brief and shining moment, the hungry masses “behind the wall” poured into public lecture halls to hear for the first time the everlasting gospel. Could it be that the Middle East itself might yet open similarly? While the socio-religio-political dynamics are radically different between Eastern Europe in the 1990s and the Middle East in the 2010s, nevertheless the possibility of a similar brief and shining moment of opportunity is just as real, is it not? Who will be ready to respond? Will the church? Will you? I would like to appeal, particularly to the young who are reading this blog—could it be that God will call you (irrespective of your degree or career) to become part of his frontline, rapid-response team in the Middle East one day? The more I read, the more I ponder and pray, the more convicted I am that God has raised up this community of faith to be a connecting bridge with our Muslim brothers and sisters. The fanatical elements of both Islam and Christianity would seek to destroy any divine bridging, but a generation of young radical followers of God in our faith community could be the very catalyst God needs to communicate his endtime appeal to the human race, to his Muslim children the world over. And so I urge you to make this notion of becoming a radical missionary for the Kingdom a matter of earnest personal praying. Who knows but that “for such a time as this” God has personally raised you up! (Listen carefully to “The Radicals”—Part 6.) We are all watching history in the making. God help us, however, to do more than watch. Instead let us help write the history God has always dreamed could be: “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands” (Revelation 7:9). Let’s make that history for God.