We are surrounded by fake news. Colleges, car dealers and travel agencies offer security, prosperity and adventure. The air is filled with proclamations that happiness is just around the corner. Everyone, it seems, has something to sell us.
Even our own heart seeks to defraud us. Certainly, we know what is good for us. A younger wife, more money, a better body, sweeter food, a different job. The truth is, none of these bring life, and none deliver on its promise. Fake News is worse than no news; it is poison.
When Yahweh declared His people have sold themselves for nothing, He meant they traded God’s gifts for ashes, their faith for the certainty of falsehoods and the power of true love for a gruel thin form of righteousness. The riches of God, offered to us in hands that hold the Universe, are rejected for a paltry scoop of self-made pleasure.
Sin is deceitful, to be sure. A Hebraic view of history reveals something counter intuitive: where we are today is determined by our future. Satan, however, never tires of telling us we can become whatever we want by taking control over our present. This is fake news. We can no more take control of our lives than we can control the weather.
There is no refuge in this world from the desperation of an empty life, no way to numb the fear we feel when staring into the face of eternity. There is only the Rock to shield us from the terrible, but He is the Rock sent to free us from our refuge of lies, and that means we must be broken.
When I was an orderly in a children’s burn unit, I would take the toddlers to have their dead skin peeled from their bodies. The children would scream in terror as soon as they saw me coming. It was horrible. But knowing they saw me as the monster who came to torture them was almost unbearable. It left me so scarred, I still weep, forty years later, when I think of it. Yet I could not turn back at the sound of their shrieks, because they would die without the treatments.
Christ will not turn back either. If we are not broken, then we will be ground to powder. All His ways are judgment, and the truth He shines into our hearts will set us free. But first it hurts like hell. Thank God there is real news, and it is good. Although fear and death will swallow us if we try to go it alone without the LORD, on the other side of trusting Him with our most intimate places lies meaning, peace and a life without end.