We're Not in Kansas Anymore
Something is different. I can’t quite explain it, but the world feels somehow different since the pandemic and the shutdowns. The extent of the polarization of the two political parties that we see today has never been like this in my lifetime. I always had friends in the past who were more liberal, and we were able to discuss things without devolving into a hate filled tirade against each other. We learned from each other and if necessary, agreed to disagree and were still friends. That almost seems to be impossible these days. There is a frightening rise of groups touting the phrase “build back better,” which implies that everything should be torn down first – which is what appears to be the agenda. Governmental control of our autonomy over our bodies and our health is terrifying. The World Economic Forum’s goals for 2030 are ominous – “You will own nothing and be happy,” and “You will eat less meat (and apparently more bugs)” are not making things any better! Everywhere you look (the economy, health statistics, the environment, church attendance, social acceptance of things never believed since creation, etc.) it seems the world is falling apart at the seams. All of this is so overwhelming and can cause such distress as to paralyze us and thrust us into depression. But there is hope! And that is where I want to keep my focus and hopefully yours, as well!
We have within us a desire to be happy and at peace. We long to look ahead to the future and plan for things that bring us joy and happiness. We want everything to be normal and “good” again. Sometimes, because we have had it so good all our lives, we think this is our right and we should never expect to “suffer” in any way. After all, we’re Americans! Our government can’t fall; our economy can’t collapse, can it? We forget that throughout the history of the world, kingdoms and empires have risen and have also fallen. Cultures have walked under the umbrella of God’s Word with a Biblical worldview and prospered only to pass away later as a result of rejecting Him and His ways. Christians have experienced persecution since the time of Christ. Jesus tells some in the early church, “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2: 10) I’m not implying that we are about to suffer because I have no way of knowing what the future holds, but if we do have a breakout of persecution, it would not be anything unusual or even surprising.
So, what do we do when the future looks bleak? How do we navigate life when it’s hard to look ahead to better days? We remember that this world is passing away. God has much bigger and better plans for us and for our future – plans we can’t even imagine! His Word tells us that, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 We dig into the scriptures that give us a glimpse of what the next part of our life will be like. The Millennial Reign of Christ and the eternal Heaven and Earth to which we will go and live with God forever, absent of sin, strife, or sadness. A Puritan once wrote in the book Valley of Vision, “May I maintain a supreme regard to another and better world and feel and confess myself a stranger and a pilgrim here. Afford me all the direction, defense, support, and consolation my journey hence requires, and grant me a mind stayed upon Thee.” I want – I need that to be my prayer. I need to focus on a bright future as described in Isaiah 65 where we won’t even remember the former things of this life. We’ll never cry, and God will answer our prayers before we even speak them. The animals won’t even fight with each other. There will be only peace everywhere on earth. I need to remember the words of Revelation 21 that describe dwelling with God and having Him wipe the tears from our eyes. In fact, He will give us such joy and happiness that there will never be mourning or crying or pain any more – only joy and the constant presence of the God who created us and loves us. How could the “good” times on this earth now even compare to that? We have so much to look forward to! Let’s focus on that and gain strength from those promises to keep the faith and remain diligent in serving God until that wonderful day when Jesus comes to take us to be with Him forever. Better days are indeed on the horizon…