when fig leaves fall

by Elizabeth de Barros

“And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.”

-Genesis 3:7 (ESV)


Some mornings I wake up feeling more revved than others — with all systems go before Darjeeling, albeit it is rare. Today is one of those days. I appreciate the strength; it harnesses me in a way nothing else does, especially with two growing boys to feed and neighbors to love. Now, I need it in a whole new way as I ride this roller coaster of current events along with the rest of the country.

I admit things have been more itch than scratch lately. Similar to nursing a low-grade fever that keeps me sufficiently weak. I am so narrowly focused; few things concern me anymore. I’m becoming like the elderly who circle talk about the weather, the bad breakfast, and where they may have put their glasses — the three majors that leave little room for minors. Oh, I might stick my head outside to check for rain before going for a walk, but I keep it buried between my knees otherwise. Tea helps at different intervals throughout the day, too.

I might be alarmed if I thought this was a self-contained experience, but I know it’s not. What defaults to being a bad taste in my mouth is more widespread than that. Red sky, faith, and headline news tell me we’re a nation under siege. This time, God is judging with the broad end of the broom.

No longer code spoken underground among a few, this national sweep has hit the airwaves, getting picked up by brainwaves everywhere. A sub-clinical post-prosperity anxiety that pervades like Wal-Mart in the name of suburban sprawl. How do I know?

I’m reading the signs.

One late night TV mouthpiece recently said, “Everything is amazing right now, and nobody’s happy.” He got applause for that.  Observant, but whoever said it’s supposed to be about happy? Isn’t that a bit on the level of wanting to watch Romper Room all day? Granted, we may not gaze upon a billion stars at night to actually count them, but I’m afraid we’ve forgotten the One Who has named them. God is patient, but He disowns those who disown Him. Nations included.

Time is overdue we pay attention.

Yes, America is ablaze morally and spiritually — God sets fire to things He wants burned up. Look at how we’re being hit economically — with such precision, our pockets are on fire. Deep down, we’re desperate for answers. We already know it’s going to take more than a massive federal bailout to turn things around. Our nation is being brought low, poised for a hard land on her knees.

Our worst mistake would be to find renewal of strength.

Adam’s error was written in indelible ink, now encoded into our DNA. Like him, we keep devising a plan to save ourselves. But if we do our homework, history would show that every fig leaf eventually falls.

And as this one does, only the humble and repentant will have the courage to come out of hiding to stand naked before their God, like Adam from behind the bush. It will be a godly nation, separate and free from shame, clothed in contrition. It will be a mighty and trembling army blessed and sent out to echo Isaiah’s cry:

You were wearied by all your ways,
but you would not say, ‘It is hopeless.’
You found renewal of your strength,
and so you did not faint.

“Whom have you so dreaded and feared
that you have been false to me,
and have neither remembered me
nor pondered this in your hearts?
Is it not because I have long been silent
that you do not fear me?

I will expose your righteousness and your works,
and they will not benefit you.

When you cry out for help,
let your collection of idols save you!
The wind will carry all of them off,
a mere breath will blow them away.
But the man who makes me his refuge
will inherit the land
and possess my holy mountain.”

-Isaiah 57:10-13


There’s No Pill-Wall Street Journal- March 13, 2009