A lot of people are saying that our country is falling apart. That our world is falling apart. We complain about immigration, the crime rate, the economy, and instability in the Middle East. We look at social issues such as abortion, marriage, children growing up in broken homes, and wonder if things have everbeen as bad as they are now.
It is a sinful world, full of pain. It should break our hearts when things look more and more bleak. But is it really anything new? I don’t think so. Let’s consider history as the first of five things to remember when it seems like the world is going down the tubes.
remember that the world has been broken since the time of Adam and Eve. Don’t be surprised by evil. Of course things are bad: man is rebellious and we have rejected God.
After God made the world clean and pristine, we couldn’t even make it to the second generation before rejecting him and allowing sin to enter the world. It only took man a few more generations before things were so bad, God hit the reset button with the flood.
How about Sodom and Gomorrah? And listen to what the prophets had to say thousands of years ago:
Ah, sinful nation, a people loaded with guilt, a breed of evildoers, children given to corruption! (Is. 1:4)
No one repents of his wickedness, saying, “What have I done?” Each pursues his own course like a horse charging into battle.” (Jer. 8:6)
There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land. There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds and bloodshed follows bloodshed. (Hos. 4:2)
People have always rejected God. When man traded the truth of God for a lie, “God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts.” (Rom 1:24) There was a breakdown of morals, and people suffered the natural consequences of their own sin and the sin of others. Why should now be different?
remember that no matter how evil the times seem, our job description has not changed one bit. We are still to go into the world and make disciples of all nations, to show people the love of God and be salt and light. Sometimes that means we must speak hard truths. It always means that we remain faithful to him, to put nothing above him, and to love people with the grace he gives us.
remember God’s faithfulness. When God’s people repent – truly repent – he promises that he “will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for [his] anger has turned away from them.” (Hos. 14:4) Go through the books of the prophets quoted above, and for every promise of judgment, there is a promise of redemption if people will only return to the God who loves them.
remember that the end of the story is written. One day there will be justice and all wrongs will be made right. We just aren’t to that part of the story yet.
remember that we need to constantly examine ourselves to make sure we aren’t part of the problem. The evils we point to in despair are the result of turning away from God, and we are all prone to wander. No one is without sin.
We should lament the lack of justice, the needless violence, the turning away from God. But we shouldn’t act like it’s anything new, and we shouldn’t conform, and we shouldn’t forget that God is in control. We certainly shouldn’t forget that the job he has given us remains the same: Love God, love people, and keep his word.
The world going down the tubes is nothing new. But neither is the God who is gracious, compassionate, and abounding in love, who stands ready to accept us if we repent and return to him.
Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. (Ez. 18:31)