Does it ever feel like the world is falling apart?
The last few weeks have been unusually tough for many people I am close to. Not only does it seem like the world is imploding on a global scale with terror, the Ebola virus, Scotland threatening to succeed; but locally events have made no sense. Christian leaders in our town have fallen and many of the regular folks who are simply trying to survive seem to have reached their limit. Life is a struggle -- how much longer can we endure?
As I was asking myself some of these questions a few truths came to my mind: (1) "When hasn't the world been falling apart?" Think about the historical record:
- From 1346-1353 (Just 7 years) an estimated 100,000,000 people died from the "The Black Plague". Experts figure in that time almost 50% of Europe's inhabitants died! Could you imagine having half of your family, your neighbors, your relatives die?
- From 1861-1865 (Just 4 years) an estimated 620,000 people died in the American Civil War. In the South, almost half of the soldiers who enlisted died. Just think, no modern medicine, powerful weapons with antiquated tactics, the cold, the disease, the heartache.
- From the recent past, 1963-74 you have the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., the 4 deaths on the Kent State Campus, the Hell's Angel's riots at the Altamont Festival, Charles Manson Killings, and Veitnam. Now those were some crazy mad times.
(2) "Has God forgotten us? Is he like the Deist God who spun the earth into motion like a top, and then left us to our own devices and downfall?" That got me thinking about Psalm 11 - - probably the most powerful passage of scripture when it feels like the world has gone mad. It begins with this question:
"When the foundations are being destroyed (when the world has gone mad) what can the righteous do?"
That really is the question, "When everything is falling apart what can we do?" I find three things we must do. They are very simple, but they will save you from falling into that emotional 'pit of despair.' Here they are:
(1) LOOK UP: "The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne." The key word in this sentence is used twice: "IS"! Is is a statement of certainty, you can bank on it. God hasn't left us all alone, God hasn't given up the game to evil, Satan is not winning. God is ruling, right now! Well that begs the question, "If he is ruling, it sure seems like he is not doing a good job. Is he weak, unable to help us?" That leads us to the second thing we must do...
(2) LOOK IN: "He observes the sons of men; he eyes examine them. The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence his soul hates." God is watching and he is looking for those who he wants to rule his eternal kingdom. This world is not a game of trivial pursuit, it is a testing ground. God is looking for a few good men and women to live in his Kingdom of Light & Glory. This is no small reward, this is no joke. I am afraid we think going to movies, concerts, riding our quads and laughing at funny jokes, listening to country music is real living. No, we are in the shadow lands, and we have a vibrant real country waiting for us. Those who cling to the earth as it is will get bitter and angry when things fall apart - - but they are meant to fall apart because they are broken and rotten from the poison of sin. So my final advice...
(3) LOOK OUT: "On the wicked he will rain fiery coals and burning sulfur; a scorching wind will be their lot. For the Lord is righteous, he loves justice; upright men WILL SEE HIS FACE." That last phrase is the greatest promise ever given. Our problem is we don't believe it. We think a cold beer, a roll in the hay, and an afternoon out fishing on the quiet lake is living. Sure, those things bring temporal pleasure - - but they can not compare to what is waiting. As C. S. Lewis says, "How easily amused we are to settle for such silly things."
God uses the brokenness of the world to wake us up to him. Things will not last forever, and as they vanish, we are forced to question and ask him why? Our asking is a sign our soul is waking up - - God is pricking us through the pain. One thing we must never do during these times is to blame him. Many people do, and in their anger they lash out and say, "I hate him, I will not believe in him, and I can handle the world alone."
Can you? Read this poem by Steve Turner if you think you can:
We believe in Marx, Freud,and Darwin We believe everything is OK as long as you don’t hurt anyone to the best of your definition of hurt, and to the best of your knowledge.
We believe in sex before, during, and after marriage. We believe in the therapy of sin. We believe that adultery is fun. We believe that sodomy’s OK. We believe that taboos are taboo.
We believe that everything’s getting better despite evidence to the contrary. The evidence must be investigated And you can prove anything with evidence.
We believe there’s something in horoscopes UFO’s and bent spoons. Jesus was a good man just like Buddha, Muhammed, and ourselves. He was a good moral teacher though we think His good morals were bad.
We believe that all religions are basically the same-at least the one that we read was. They all believe in love and goodness. They only differ on matters of creation, sin, heaven, hell, God, and salvation.
We believe that after death comes the Nothing Because when you ask the dead what happens they say nothing. If death is not the end, if the dead have lied, then its compulsory heaven for all excepting perhaps Hitler, Stalin, and Genghis Kahn
We believe in Masters and Johnson What’s selected is average. What’s average is normal. What’s normal is good.
We believe in total disarmament. We believe there are direct links between warfare and bloodshed. Americans should beat their guns into tractors. And the Russians would be sure to follow.
We believe that man is essentially good. It’s only his behavior that lets him down. This is the fault of society. Society is the fault of conditions. Conditions are the fault of society.
We believe that each man must find the truth that is right for him. Reality will adapt accordingly. The universe will readjust. History will alter. We believe that there is no absolute truth excepting the truth that there is no absolute truth.
We believe in the rejection of creeds, And the flowering of individual thought.
If chance be the Father of all flesh, disaster is his rainbow in the sky and when you hear
State of Emergency! Sniper Kills Ten! Troops on Rampage! Whites go Looting! Bomb Blasts School! It is but the sound of man worshiping his maker.