For weeks, my community has been trying to survive under a suffocating blanket of smoke. Living in a perpetual smoke-filled world caused by raging wildfires can begin to affect the thinking of people. It is actually called the twilight effect. The heavy smoke covering much of the Pacific Northwest is causing people to see life in a perpetual twilight state. This happens when the familiar is no longer seen. The only constant is the surreal gray twilight caused by the smoke.
In this twilight-like time, I have been praying for when we finally emerge from the smoke and experience the clarity of clear air once again. I have also felt for a long time before the natural smoke arrived that there has been a spiritual twilight taking place for many believers across our nation. We have been surrounded by something increasingly unfamiliar and suffocating. People are desperate for clarity and a breath of fresh spiritual air. It has become glaringly obvious that political solutions will not blow away the smoke of our discontent. Neither will another war or a hyped-up speech filled with false hopes.
A clarity is coming – a fresh wind of God’s Spirit is about to arrive. This wind will clear away the smoke that has blinded our spiritual sight and suffocated our dreams. This move of God will not be what many have expected or even considered in prayer. It will be an Ephesians 3:20 moment of supernatural clarity – “beyond all that we ask or think.” God wants us to encounter a simple and less-complicated faith – one that is far more mobile and able to move at the speed of our faith.
When I wrote my book, The Sound of Reformation, I added a subtitle, “rediscovering the simplicity of our mission.” Simplicity will be a primary by-product of this new season of clarity. God has set aflame the complexity of some expression of the Church. Many have fled these burning structures and are now living huddled with other evacuees in shelters of faith where they are discovering a new sense of community.
If you are a leader in a church or a movement of churches, make sure you have done your homework while in the smoke. Do not think that what was given to the people before the fires of the Spirit began to burn will draw them back again when the smoke finally clears. Let the fire have its way. Your primary task will be to clear away the burned rubble so that you and those you serve can move forward in unhindered clarity.
A simple clarity of our faith is coming. When it arrives, take in a deep breath of its goodness. This will be your new reality.