I believe that the saddest thing in the world is indifference. I think that it is sadder than any heresy, sadder than any false belief; yes, sadder even than any honest unbelief.
You see, the mind which has struggled into rest is one to be envied. The mind that has struggled without ever finding rest has to be appreciated. But the mind that has never even experienced any struggle at all, well, that mind is to be pitied.
The Revelator says that a man had better be either hot or cold. I believe that he’s exactly right. I can comprehend a man looking at the Creator’s creation and believing. I can somewhat understand a man looking at the Creator’s creation and doubting. What I cannot understand is a man who won’t even raise his head to look at the Creator’s creation.
Wonder that turns into worship is natural. Wonder that leads to scepticism is perhaps possible. But that a mind can exist without wonder is, to me, inconceivable. It can only be explained by a fundamental lack – some sort of deficiency in the mind itself.
If then indifference is the saddest of all things, then it is sadder still when it occurs in the midst of serious circumstances. To be at ease, for a mind, is never a noble or desirable thing, but for a mind to be “at ease in Zion” is a terrible tragedy! It’s like someone laughing out in the middle of a funeral. It’s like a daughter dancing around the grave of her father.
Being flippant really is a sad spectacle at any time, but being flippant in the presence of greatness is especially sad. To be flippant in the middle of a national tragedy, to be flippant during national victory, to be flippant when the days are dark and dreadful, to be flippant in the light of love, to be flippant when the glory or shadow of God is passing by – that is truly tragic. It really means to be less than a man. That’s what it means to be “at ease in Zion.”
So many times I worry about and lament the fact that this human soul of mine seems to be the most burdened of any creature in God’s creation. I often compare the care I carry to others in the Creator’s creation – and then I find myself worrying even more. I consider the cardinal’s carol or the swallow’s song and I wonder what is wrong with me, but then He shows me that my burden is in fact my glory. I find that I am not “at ease in Zion” simply because I am “in Zion.” The shadow that dims my sight is His shadow. The weight that weighs down my wings is my ever present sense of Him.
I’m learning that if I weren’t my brother’s keeper then I might be like the birds and have an unending, enduring song on my lip. But there is no way I can divest myself of that responsibility. In fact, I don’t think my God would have me to be any other way. I would rather walk in the shade with my God than to soar with the bird in the light. My care is considerably better than a carol. My sigh is substantially more significant than a song. I have seen the King in all of His beauty. I have heard Heaven’s music from afar and therefore the discords of this world grate on my ears. I have seen His spotless robe and therefore my brother’s rags break my heart. His rainbow brings my flood.
I know that it is hard to comprehend, but it is the Lord’s beauty that brings my burden, His glory that lends to my gloom, His nearness that brings my night. Why shouldn’t I take His yoke upon me? Should I refuse to suffer the pain that His children alone can feel? Should I reject the weight of the heart that comes only to those on whom He has laid His hand? No, I would rather live and move and find my being in Him and bear His shadows in my soul. You see, to lose the lark’s ease, the cardinal’s carol, is simply the price that I pay for being in Zion.