The 20th century American folk song, Goodnight Irene, was right on and the sentiment is the same today as it was in the fifties when Eddy Arnold sang, “Goodnight, Irene, I’ll see you in my dreams!” But little did Eddy know how true those words would ring in 2011.
Many observers have commented that the worst-case scenario did not happen, and for that we are all very thankful. But with Irene (and her epic flooding) coming on the heels of an earthquake, the skeptic has to take seriously the scriptures in the Bible that make us believe God is angry with us. In 2 Timothy 3:1-5 we read: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
If we, as Christians, do NOT turn away from these things, what can we expect God to do? He has already created the universe, provided laws of nature, His law OR WORD for humans to follow, free-agency to choose God or the Devil (good or evil), and most importantly He has provided GRACE through Jesus Christ. We could go on and on about His compassion, kindness, and love. But NOW what?
We can pray, pray, pray – for MERCY, GRACE, FORGIVENESS, and STRENGTH. GOD does not change. His word does not change. His promises WILL be fulfilled. AND it is still DAY when we can be forgiven. But with the DARK DAYS all around us, how long will it be before NIGHT has settled in and we no longer have time to repent? (Remember the hymn, WORK FOR THE NIGHT IS COMING?)
So we can say goodnight to Irene, BUT the axe is laid at the foot of the trees and we can EXPECT that God’s anger is not over yet. Matthew 3:10 makes no bones about it: “Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.”
Who can endure the day of HIS coming? Who can stand when He appears? The answer for Christians would be those who repent and rest (hope) in Jesus. Those who are strong and armed with His word. Those whose hearts are not corrupt. Those who produce good fruit. Those who have love in their hearts and demonstrate their love in works.
The song, IN THE GARDEN, says: “… And He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own; and the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known…..”
While “the night is all around us”, we want to be prepared and bask in the JOY that comes to those who walk with Jesus.