5-4. By now, the entire world should know what this scoreline means.
Yes, the impression of a penalty shoot out was what I had when news of SCOTUS’ decision on the legalising of same-sex marriage flooded the social media. It sure looked like nine players having their chances at goal from the penalty spot. One by one, they took their shots and it was tied at 4-all. Finally, the last shot was taken and the deadlock was broken. 5-4! And same-sex marriage is now a legal right across all fifty states of the United States of America. By the system, it is described as a landmark decision by majority vote. In my opinion, one vote can hardly be regarded as majority; not when it concerns an issue as critical as marriage. Honestly, it is as if God was outvoted by these judges and His original design and intent for marriage was reduced to a penalty shoot out.
As I scrolled the news on my smartphone that night (26 June, Singapore time), I felt my stomach churn. It wasn’t exactly the kind of news you’d want to be reading after a long tiring day before going to sleep. The next morning, even more articles appeared, both for and against. I posted a few comments on my personal and ministry page, as well as shared a couple of these articles. This morning, I thought it’d be good to put down some observations and thoughts. These are done in a personal capacity as I wrestle and process what is happening around us in these times. I hope this helps you in your own processing too.
1. Christians are not united on this topic. This may be shocking to some but that’s the reality. And I am not just referring to the flurry of formal counter responses on the internet. To my surprise, some of my Facebook friends have used the online app to “celebrate pride” through their profile pictures. In other words, these Christians are supportive of same-sex marriages and are not shy to declare their position openly. You would think that believers of Jesus Christ would be standing together on this critical matter. Well, no. There is a need to have both wisdom and discernment that we may know how to respond, not just to the world out there, but also within the so-called Christian community.
2. Truth has been absolutely relativised. In the midst of post-modern culture and mindsets, the battle for Truth rages on. I cannot understand how Christians who claim to hold to God’s Word on the one hand can celebrate pride on the other hand! But let’s not be naive at all. The battle for Truth is really a battle of worldviews. Today, Scripture is being read, interpreted and processed with secular and humanistic worldviews. No wonder major denominations have changed their position about marriage and LGBTs. Make no mistake – God’s Word has not changed. However, Scripture has been adjusted to cater to culture when all along, it should be culture that is to be shaped by Scripture. Interestingly, the Church is to be the pillar and ground of the Truth (1 Tim 3:15) but sadly, I fear we are not doing too well in this aspect.
3. Some things cannot be prayed away. This is not a statement of little faith. On the contrary, this is a declaration of faith in the Word of God. We are told that lawlessness will increase in the last days and that is what we see happening all around us. This is prophetic fulfilment as in the days of Israel and Judah. The Old Testament prophets declared impending invasions from the enemies. At the same time, they prayed and pleaded with God, not desiring to see their own prophecies come to pass. They appealed to the mercy and grace of God, as well as His covenant love for His people. Yet, in God’s sovereignty and foreknowledge, He allowed Israel and Judah to be devastated and deported regardless of how hard or long the righteous prayed. In the same way, there are some things that just cannot be prayed away. These must take place for these have been prophesied and we are seeing the Word of God come to pass.
4. We must keep praying. I know this sounds as if I am contradicting the previous point but I assure you that I am not being fickle. Without doubt, we are called to pray, and pray we must. This is a battle that is spiritual and it is entirely beyond what we can do in the natural. We pray because we acknowledge our great need for the Great Judge to act in His way and in His time. We pray because we still believe that He is in control over the situation, however dire or hopeless it looks to us. We pray not only for ourselves but also for our children and our children’s children. Whatever the outcome, may we be found faithful as ones who stood in the gap, who offered the incense of prayer that rises to His throne.
5. Don’t miss the backdrop. In case you haven’t noticed, it is no longer business as usual. The most powerful nation on earth has set the tone and it’s not a pretty one at all. If you think this is largely a Western problem, I urge you to consider again. In this day and age, the threat is much closer than you think. It has been rightly pointed out that the LGBT Agenda is only a front to something that is more sinister. John Piper, in the article “So-Called Same-Sex Marriage“, reveals the “new calamity” of “normalisation and institutionalisation”. And this just might become a global phenomenon, and much sooner than you think.
6. This is not the time to be found in slumber. The alarm is sounding and it is getting louder. The signs are all around us if our eyes would be open to see and perceive. For sure, it cannot be church as usual. The question is, “Is the Church awake?” Or are many in the Body of Christ still found to be in slumber? And I am not talking about attendance in a building on any given weekend. The fact that Christians are generally unaware and apathetic is cause for concern. The Church in America is crying out for a Third Awakening and I am standing in agreement with them. But why only in USA? Let’s believe for an awakening in Singapore and throughout Asia too!
7. There’s still work to be done. Whilst a major disappointment, the SCOTUS ruling is only one little setback in God’s greater scheme of things. The Church must not be distracted by this decoy and miss her mission. Even more so, the believer must not be derailed from his or her kingdom assignment (Archippus Awakening). There is work to be done and God is calling all hands to be on deck. In the face of great challenge and ridicule, Noah knew his assignment and kept on building the ark. Similarly, we must stay focussed to know and fulfil our assignments regardless of how difficult it may be.
For now, the scoreline remains 5-4. LGBT advocates and their supporters the world over are celebrating this victory. Needless to say, I am not in the least thrilled. In Singapore football jargon, I am almost tempted to shout “Referee kayu!!!” (useless referee). After all, how can such a predicament be allowed to happen? How can God’s institution of marriage be redefined through a penalty shoot out?
Even so, I am promptly reminded – the judges of SCOTUS may have ruled in favour of same-sex marriage but it is our God who has the final say as the Ultimate Judge. Indeed, God is still in control and the game is still in play. The Divine Referee waves ‘play on’ and that is what we must do, for it ain’t over until He says it is over … and Scripture reveals a very different scoreline.