Giants in the Land

By

You would have laughed to see it—that mound of walruses piled on the Russian coast. Laughter was my first inclination. I wondered when a male walrus would begin an awkward mating dance or heave his bulk at a pesky seagull. I was waiting for the comic soundtrack, the thumping of a tuba, when I began to understand. This was a story of suffering.

The animals were struggling to find a place to rest. Behind them, each surge of water brought a fresh wave of walruses, so they lumbered over the bodies of their fellows to cliffs hundreds of feet above the sea. I held my breath and asked myself how they would get down. I watched them fall. For a few seconds they were weightless. It was almost funny—their huge bodies, so ungainly, all whiskers and tusks and flab. Until they landed. You would have wept to see them die. And when you turned and saw the tears on your children’s faces, what would you have said?

They'll ask how we failed to see that we were crowned with glory and honor, how we failed to understand dominion.

Helena Sorensen

I am running out of time; a decision must be made. By accident, in overheard conversations, in news stories and library books, my children are discovering the darkness in the world. They’re catching glimpses of the wide, haunted eyes of children driven from their homes. They’re beginning to learn that people—bearers of the life and image of God—are bought and sold, used and discarded. They’re hearing rumors of genocide and death camps and girls shot in the head for daring to go to school. And what am I to say? Would you sit beside your little boy and tell him that the laws are bad, the governments corrupt, the systems broken? Would you tell him that the world is full of evil men who do not know who they are unless their hands are full of things to break?

“My son, there are giants in the land.”

They’re seeing pictures of little seabirds lying dead in their nests with bellies burst open. Diligent parents flew over the sea in search of food. They scooped bright offerings into their beaks and dropped them into the mouths of their hungry babies. They flew out and returned, flew out and returned, until the fragile chicks could hold no more and they choked on the pretty scraps of plastic I threw away and forgot. What do I tell my daughter when she finds that there is no such place as “away”? Do I tell her that creation groans, that the planet writhes in pain? Do I sit with her and grieve that we are trapped in the “not yet”? Do I tell her we are powerless and only God can fix the problem? That He will come to enact a grand rescue, undoing all the consequences of our choices on some distant golden daybreak?

“My daughter, we are as grasshoppers.”

I have only so much time. One day my children’s children will come to me and ask me why. I can imagine their confusion. “You must have seen the signs,” they’ll say. “How could you believe you had no choice but to dominate or wait?” They’ll ask about my generation and those that came before. They’ll ask how we failed to see that we were crowned with glory and honor, how we failed to understand dominion.

What excuse will I give? Will I tell them we were small and nameless, that we waited for evil to crush us under its boot? Will I look back and see our great numbers? Will I remember how we descended on the earth’s abundance and the incomprehensible gift of humanity and devoured it, unthinking? Will I confess my unbelief when my children’s children reap what I have sown?

My friend, there are giants in the land. And we are as grasshoppers in our own eyes.

Numbers 13:33, Joshua 2:9, Psalm 8


5 Comments

  1. Scully

    @newcreature

    I would tell them the truth: there is an unseen army bent on the destruction and rape of humanity. We engage with these forces every day. We hear them as some of our thoughts. We feel the prodding of their claws which incite some emotions. Humanity is sleep walking, blind to the festering infections inflicted on us by the actions of our fathers and ourselves. Humanity is not our enemy, though. No, we are merely slaves. The question is: whose slave will we be? Will we remain slaves of this unseen army? Or will we submit ourselves as slaves to righteousness, crying out to Christ Jesus for his redemption to come in our own lives, that we may wake and join him in his work…? Sometimes when we’re dizzy and stumbling around, drunk on fatigue—eyes daring to shut as we drive 2-ton metal chunks down highways at great speed—we have to scream and yell and clench our fists just to keep our eyes open. Yes, it’s hard. But we can’t afford to sleep. It’s time to stare evil in the face and weep. It’s time we worship God in his Dreadful Beauty: he is a destroyer of evil; and it’s time we imitate Christ and become as Righteously Violent as he was in the temple. Our bodies are his house; and in selling our birthright (our dominion; glory; honor; responsibility) for a warm blanket with which to cover our eyes, ears, and thereby remain asleep in this cold, wicked world, we make ourselves a den of thieves. It’s time to learn when and how to express anger so as to clean ourselves of the moneychangers within us.

    Teenagers have one thing over us adults: many haven’t yet learned how to be hypocrites. We don’t need to teach them how to make themselves fall asleep. We need to teach them how to channel their anger. And that starts with us recognizing our enemy (the unseen army) and getting angry enough to submit to Christ. Teens are right: the things we see are worthy of rage and wrath and flipping tables and warfare and worse. And as long as we tell them they’re wrong, they’ll continue to see (on some level) our hypocrisy, and feel all the more anger and injustice—which is the very thing that fuels them to do wickedness. No, they’re not wrong. They’re just never taught how to channel that anger righteously. It’s time we wake up. It’s time to get angry. It’s time to see that things like violent video games don’t make violent people, but are merely the expression of sleepwalkers who feel offense at wickedness but don’t know what to do about it and were abandoned to the unseen army by fathers who should have taught them how to worship God. It’s time we worship Jesus as he deserves: with ALL of ourselves. That includes our anger. We are far too complacent. We are far too tame.

    We are not dangerous enough to be safe.

    Seek Christ: the only begotten son of the Father, come in the flesh to satisfy the righteous wrath of God and make a way to save. Know him. Become like him. Only then will we be dangerous enough to save. I’m not scared of my children seeing the horrors of this world. I grieve for what they will have to grieve. But I rejoice that they will get to know the Dreadful Beauty of their True Father in seeing his power manifested righteously through his sons and daughters. What have we to fear? Nothing except God himself. But don’t fear. He is strong enough and faithful enough to save and teach you how to do the same.

    Those who have ears to hear, let them hear.

  2. Matthew Cyr

    I remember reading that the only real difference between a grasshopper and a locust is behavior: that “locust” is just a term we use for grasshoppers that gather together in a swarm and devastate the land around them. If beliefs drive behavior, maybe the only difference between a grasshopper that trusts God to lead it forward into a land of giants, and a locust that rushes to get its fill before all the others take it all, is what they believe about their relationship to the Creator and the abundance He’s given them.

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