For the third straight day I headed to the beach at daybreak. Yet on this day something was different. For one thing, the crashing of the waves had increased in volume. For another, there were significantly more surfers. As dawn fully matured, I could see the water was alive with surfers. As I walked toward the commotion, a young man ran by me and sprinted the 200 yards to the beach. Yeehaw...surf is up!
These surfers certainly knew something I didn't. The conditions were ripe for "angry sea" surfing. Today, there would be no fighting for the larger swells and no lounging around on surfboards gazing great distances into the ocean looking for a building swell worthy enough for their talent. The waves were large and abundant.
How did so many surfers know the surf would be so intense? I don't know, but I googled it. Surf is affected by wind speed, wind duration and something called fetch. Fetch is the area over which the wind is blowing. It's not so surprising that a few surfers were keyed into the wind speed and fetch, what made me marvel is that I could see miles up and down the coast; the waves were large and surfers were on them. Quite a contrast to the dozens of surfers I had noted the two previous days.
It was obvious these surfers were paying attention and knew how to read the signs.
AGENDA BASED INTERPRETATIONS
Jesus had some things to say about reading the signs. In Matthew 16 He says "...you know how to read the face of the sky but you cannot discern the signs of the times".
Discerning the times, requires us to look deeper than superficial reporting. Surfers will be ineffective interpreting the upcoming surf conditions simply by watching the weather channel. I've yet to see a weather report that provides a "fetch" report. It is the same for interpreting culture. Discerning the times requires us to look beyond our favorite sources of information because it is commonly incomplete or even inaccurate.
Worse, we can become subject to agenda based interpretations designed to divert attention from deeper truth. It's called spin and it works like this: The agenda provides incomplete or inaccurate information in order to sway the listener toward agreement with the agenda. Many wars have started in such a way. I'd offer that any war over God's name is inherently stupid and most people of faith know it. Yet somehow our sons and daughters keeps dying in them.
Scripture has many references to "those who have eyes to see", or "ears to hear" or both. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Jesus, Acts and more. Each is an admonition to get beyond the surface and look deeper. Too frequently we take as face value the events of the day without intently looking for heaven's prospective. An effective prophetic culture takes Jesus words "Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" as the lens from which to view current events.
As we learn to apply the appropriate lens, we can better understand the trends taking place. We note trends in all the regions of influence; faith, entertainment, education, business, media, government, and family. We neutralize any personal biases that doesn't align with heaven and the result is our discernment accuracy increases. As we more accurately discern the times, we can respond from a place of peace, knowing that our God of love has it all worked out. It is from that place that we live.
I believe in these marvelous times in which God is aligning those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. In Part III of this series, I will unveil my best understanding of the wonder of the season we have fully entered. Hint: The result of this season could be a world wide movement toward reconciliation. Hint: It's more up to us that we know.