“Yet . . .”

Miss Johanna Timmer, departmental editor of Reformed Women Speak writes: “Let us especially remember the young people in Communist lands who are willing to suffer persecution for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

In Psalm 74 Asaph complains bitterly about the conditions of his day because of “the devastation of the land by the enemy.” We can sympathize so well with Asaph because of current conditions in government, in economics, in social life, in the homes, in the schools, in the churches. We are troubled on every side. More and more matters disturb us. They make us sick at heart. Let me mention just a few at random:

Why does President Carter favor giving up our control of the Panama Canal? Why does President Carter favor supporting “a military build up of a nation [Jamaica] committed to Marxist principles and the destruction of freedom and democracy”? Why has tax money been used to finance abortions? Why do we have detente with Russia? Why are we eating “ice cream” with Cuba? Why does President Carter not apply his belief in human rights to cover those who should have the right not to belong to a union? Why does our government frown upon Chile that has rid itself of Communist control?

Why is there so much permissiveness in our circles under the cloak of Christian liberty and the cultural mandate? Why do covenant youth take to drugs, to sex, to rock music, to alcohol, to the theater, to the dance, etc., etc.—thus subjecting their “hearts of quivering flesh” to great evils? Why have sports taken over in many homes on Sunday afternoons either by people watching it on TV or indulging in it themselves? Why do so many women work outside the home whose greatest responsibility is in the home? “Fewer and fewer parents are doing their job in caring for children” (The Conservative Digest, August 1977). In that same article T read that one sixth of all children in our country are living in singleparent families; 50% of women with school-aged children are now employed; one third of those with children under 6 are employed; and one third of those with children under 3. In the Missionary Monthly I just read this in one of the excellent articles of Betty De Witt: “. . . there seems to be a growing attitude even among Christian women that her primary concern is the development of her personal desires. Get the children out of the house as quickly as possible so that we may have freedom to pursue our own interests. Sometimes I am afraid we use many excuses to hide our real motives; we need the money, my child needs the companionship of other children of his own age, I am a better mother if I am away from my home at least part of the time. The highly important task of creating a Christian home has fallen into disrepute and is regarded as drudgery, as being uncreative, dull and unchallenging. There are so many things that draw us from our homes that they can hardly be called homes any longer. Since we do not dare to stand against these forces lest we be considered odd, we succumb” (June-July 1977, p. 14).

Since I started typing the above quotation I came across a statement by Senator O. Hatch of Utah in Battle Line put out by The American Conservative Union: “Laws permitting abortion, the over-emphasis on protecting the rights of special interest groups to the exclusion of others, and the over-emphasis on taking women out of the home—have all contributed to the breakdown of the family” (June-July 1977, p. 17). Why are so many mothers more interested in affording “things” than in rearing children? Why do so many men cast adulterous eyes on women with whom they work? Why are divorces increasing in our church circles?

Why are so many schools lacking in sound education and in discipline? Why is there so much vandalism in schools and communities? Why is there so little respect for parents and teachers? Why must sex education take such a raw turn in some schools, as if they want to ruin the morals of a child before it leaves school? Why has progressive creationism (theistic evolution) taken over in many Christian schools as the accepted view?

Why are some ministers in our circles giving their parishioners husks instead of bread? I recently attended a CRC service where liberals would have felt very much at home, but where solid conservatives feel they come away from church empty, without having had their souls fed. Why? Why? What is the matter with the elders oC such a church? What is the matter with the church visitors? What is the matter with the Classis? Why is catechism preaching disobediently neglected by some ministers? How can a man be admitted to the ministry of the CRC if he denies some of the teachings of the Bible? Why must our Synod appoint committee after committee to weigh the matter of women preachers and of the Lodge when the Bible seems clear on both? Why are so many members of so many of our churches absent from the evening services?

Yes, we are troubled on every side. I think my blood pressure rose markedly and my heart sank when today I read the report of the Board of Trustees of Calvin College and Seminary in The Banner concerning social dancing. Are we going to have social dancing at Calvin with a possible future approval by faculty and Board? If so, then let not the church feel it has the right to ask me for financial support. Now that theatricals have taken safe hold, dancing is coming to the fore. This, if permitted will lead, I am sure, to sexual promiscuity. Doesn’t this make one think that Calvin should no longer be the responsibility of the Christian Reformed denomination?

Asaph’s complaints were many. A good number of us have many complaints too. We with Asaph can nevertheless unburden our hearts to the Lord and with him triumphantly exclaim:

“Yet God is my King of old, Working salvation in the midst of the earth . . .” (Ps.74:12)

Yes, we too can say after listing complaint upon complaint (and my list is far from complete): “Yet God is my king of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.” In spite of the wickedness in human society, and the faithfulnesses among God‘s people, we know that God is King, that Christ is the Head of the Church. Jesus Christ is riding on to victory in spite of all contrary winds. All authority is His in heaven and on earth. There is abundant proof of the King working salvation in the midst of the earth. Let us now list some of them at random to hearten us:

We can rejoice that there are some Godfearing men in our government locally, state-wise, and nationally. They pray for direction and desire to promote sound government. There are organizations that are working hard to promote good legislation, men who oppose abortion, union control of government, giving up the Panama Canal, pornography, increased centralization, withdrawing armed forces from Korea, etc. Among these organizations are: The Young Americans for Freedom, The American Security Council, The American Conservative Union, The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation Inc., The Committee for Free China, Americans against Union Control of Government, The American Chilean Council, etc. All these organizations are promoting causes that are promotive of the welfare of church and state.

The Gospel is speeding its way to the ends of the earth. The scope of outreach of the Back-toHour alone is phenomenal. The speed with which the Bible, or portions of it, is translated into languages and dialects is encouraging. Christian book stores are being established all over the world. Accounts of this by the World Literature Crusade are especially fascinating. Just imagine! A Missionary Aviation Fellowship pilot takes off every 5 minutes of every day, day and night, to wing missionaries to their fields, patients to the hospital, medicine to the sick, etc. The Gallup Poll sees the beginning of a great revival in our land. God grant it! SWIM teams go hither and yon with the Gospel. Christian schools are multiplying. Gospel crusades are well attended. The Mexico Summer Training Session is attracting much attention from young Christians from Canada and the U.S.A. Their program of activity and their way of life in Mexico reflect real dedication to the furtherance of the Gospel. The demand for Bibles with whole schools using them as textbooks is amazing. There is also a heavy demand for Bible correspondence courses and for Christian books.

Yes, there are young people that take a stand against the evils or the day. There are young people that go on SWIM. Others participate in the Mexico summer Training Session. Again others offer themselves for service in the CRWR program. More and more heed the call to full-time home and foreign missions. Many students do volunteer wo.rk in hospitals, among the handicapped and the underprivileged. Then there is all the church work they do. Let us especially remember the young people in communist lands who are willing to suffer persecution for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Salvation is coming to hundreds of people in the world today. God is bringing in His own from allover. Dont they say that 20,000 are saved every week in Africa alone? There is encouraging response to the Gospel as proclaimed on the Back-to-God Hour in English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Indonesian, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese.

I recently met a group of young people at the Kennedy Airport in New York who were flying to Europe to witness to the Gospel, young people, full of zeal, eager to launch forth.

Through devious ways God is working salvation in the midst of the earth. God is fulfilling His purposes in spite of Satan’s efforts to undo them. God‘s counsel shall stand, and He will do all His good pleasure.

I believe many of God’s dear children feel as I do, being troubled on every side. May we nevertheless also all be able to say with Asaph:

“Yet God is my King of old, Working salvation in the midst of the earth.”