For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven . . .(Ecclesiastes 3:1).
Those who follow this blog know that for the past seven years I have published an article on the 14th of each month without missing a beat. Perhaps there was one or so published on the 15th. Whether or not quality is characteristic of this blog is for readers to decide, but consistency most definitely has defined my efforts put into this Website. Yet the 14th of October, November, and December passed without a peep from Contemplations. So what happened? Quite frankly a stroke happened. I got up on a Friday morning, October 9th, totally lacking the ability to stand or walk. Subsequently after calling 911, I was admitted to two hospitals and a rehab clinic, consuming the next 43 days of my life.
Additionally, those who follow this blog know that I’m fairly straightforward about my Christian faith. Part of this article will focus on how my faith informs my working through the challenges presented by my stroke. The epigraph from Ecclesiastes at the head of this blog is personally fitting because this is definitely a time to heal for me.
This blog, however, will address a broader form of healing than just a personal one. As a nation we need healing culturally and socially throughout all our institutions. I believe some of our institutions have outlived their usefulness all together. So another focus of this article will be on the change of emphasis that Contemplations will undergo in the future. A time to change is not directly expressed in Ecclesiastes 3, but it is implicit there if not explicit.
Healing Is Restoration
Having suffered a stroke I now know first hand what it means to live with a broken body. I lack the abilities to walk, swallow so as to take in solid food, and to see well. When I think of my prayers for healing, they are basically prayers for restoration. I pray that my body is restored to the capabilities that it possessed previous to the stroke. Faith is a multilayered thing. I hold fast to the hope that God will fully heal my body while simultaneously understanding there are no guarantees. There is at least one guarantee however. God will answer my prayers but in his own time and in his own way. Faith calls me to hold fast to God’s grace, his new mercies everyday, and his abundant lovingkindness. In doing so faith also calls me to wait for God’s timing. We are confronted with such tensions all through Scripture. We usually don’t get the full impact of them until they confront our lives in a real way.
There are nine fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5. One of them is patience. Although the Spirit provides these fruits for us, I know for certain that I was born lacking any patience whatsoever. And I have developed very little of it over the seventy-two years I’ve lived on this planet. My recovery from this stroke most assuredly entails an incremental process. Although I would welcome God’s blessing of exponential quantum leaps in the extent of my healing, it appears that I’m in this struggle for the long haul. That fact very well could mean that this is God’s way of helping me develop patience, not only in terms of healing, but also across vast areas of my life so that patience truly becomes a fruit of the Spirit I possess.
Patience involves not only wading through incremental steps of healing, but it also entails waiting on God’s timing. To respond to God’s call to be still and know that I am God at least requires patience if not all the other eight fruits of the Spirit and tons of Spiritual maturity. This is my time under the sun to see if I can face the challenges of compromised health concerns, which I’ve never had to face in my life until now. One thing is for certain. Whether or not I feel it at times or doubt it, Emmanuel – God with us – will be with me every step of the way.
The one lesson I’ve learned at this point that I can pass on to people is this. Do not take your good health for granted. It can be gone in the bat of an eye. Embrace your blessing of good health, and don’t squander your time, which is a blessing as well given to us by God.
Cultural and Social Restoration
Contemplations blog will undergo major changes. Although libertarian, I used to really keep my political beliefs in some back corner, rarely discussing them publicly and particularly not using this blog as a conduit for my political take on things. Well that’s about to change. I no longer believe such an approach is feasible. Culturally and socially this country is in turmoil, politically, economically, and morally. Our institutions have failed us. There is a heavy duty renovation needed throughout our society. Moreover, it’s the church and believers in Christ that need to lead the way to that renovation. We need to apply Biblical principles to all areas of life, from education to our workplace, and from our personal ethics to our engagement with political matters.
Having stated my position, let me say what this blog will not engage. I will not be writing anything to urge people to back certain candidates nor align with any particular political party. Our political institutions as they exist are miserable failures. Economically the country is sinking into an abyss as future generations are strapped with a twenty-three trillion dollar debt. The need for political action can no longer be about voting for the right people whom we naively believe will make the world right for us. Politicians will not accomplish such a feat because they simply don’t have the know-how to do so. On the one hand we must engage politically while on the other hand having as a goal to rid our lives of political interventionism. We must learn how to live free of the State. Given our present condition reclaiming our fundamental liberties will require a lot of relearning and new learning of ideas. Future blogs will explore many of those ideas that can help us counter the Statism in which we are ensconced.
Progressivism and political-correctness have taken over our educational institutions, our political institutions, and social media. It is a time for change. Political quietism is no longer feasible because it has led to the surrender of our personal liberties to collectivized power comprising people who believe it’s their place to design life for everyone else. Their modus operandi is other people’s money and a government printing press that continues to inflate our currency while plunging the country deeper into debt. For those of us who want to counter this progressive onslaught our political engagement must not be about getting the right people in office. We must take back our communities and defeat the rise of Statism that defines the day. I believe we can accomplish this feat only by choosing to apply Biblical principles to all areas of our lives.
John V. Jones, Jr., Ph.D, LPC-S/December 25th, 2020