3 minutes with the general director

I was lost – really lost. The sergeant had taken me deep into the woods and left me there. His final words: “You have two hours to find your way back to the base. Use your equipment and your training.”

I was in the Marine Corps and had just undergone training in the use of map and compass. They worked okay in the classroom, but now I was lost in the woods. Would they work here in a real-life situation? I remembered the instructor’s words, “Use your compass to find north, then slowly turn your map so that north on the map points in the same direction as north on the compass.” The process was called “orienting the map”, and until that simple process was done the map did me no good. But once the map was oriented, I could quickly locate where I was and the exact direction in which I wanted to go. I arrived back at base well before the deadline.

Perhaps we need reminding that the Bible is the compass which God has lovingly given to mankind. It, alone, is the one changeless and objective standard in a subjective world of change – the “platinum” yardstick, the norm or standard, against which all else must be measured. If we “orient” our lives to God’s compass, it will most assuredly lead to the harbor of life. God has not lost His bearings in the confusing 20th century. The Lord ‘still’ knows the way through the wilderness – all we have to do is follow.

Sometimes distractions along life’s journey draw our attention and momentarily, taking our eyes off the always reliable compass, we lose our way in the heavy underbrush and maze of narrow pathways. Satan is the author of many of our distractions. At present he seems not so much to be “going about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour”, but as “an angel of light”. We are not being confronted so much by a clear frontal attack as by an insidious envelopment along our flank. Many Christians are being distracted by a world in crisis, and “infectious pessimism” is reaching epidemic proportions. Within God’s mighty army, a disproportionate number of soldiers are leaving the “front lines” and going “AWOL” (absent without leave). They can be found in the rear areas pouting over crooked politicians, inflation, recession, crime, unemployment, questionable foreign policy, and a host of other problems. In a single stroke Satan is rendering many passive in the secular realm and impotent in the spiritual. The Christian should be well informed concerning current world events – but he should never forget that ultimately he is not “of this world”. He is an ambassador representing his heavenly home. He is a stranger and pilgrim and, like Abraham, he should be looking for a city which hath foundations whose maker and builder is God.

As citizens of heaven we must be compassionate for this world which appears to be coming unglued – but we need not come unglued with it. For the Christian there is no justification for being pessimistic about the future. We do well to take our eyes off the world’s distractions and look again at God’s compass. There is more than a little light at the end of the tunnel; there is brilliance sufficient to lighten eternity.

It was a day perhaps not too unlike our own when the Apostle Peter wrote,

Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation (appearing) of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:13).

Peter could share that exhortation because earlier in the same chapter he had said,

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively (living) hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Peter 1:3-5).

Child of the King, we need to maintain a biblical balance. Look out actively and honestly at the world “God so loved”, and see it as it really is. But look up expectantly for the Lord’s return as well. In so doing we will become immune to the epidemic of “infectious pessimism” spreading insidiously through the Body of Christ. To do that successfully, we must be constantly orienting our lives to His compass.

Optimistically yours because of His certain triumph,
Marvin J. Rosenthal

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