Did you ever notice how the older we get, the worse the news seems? Whether it’s national or global (witness the 494.23 point this past Thursday/Friday Dow Jones drop) or personal (realizing I put the wrong year on an art contest poster that already went out via email and internet), all kinds of things seem to be going wrong.
Dean Koontz’s character, Odd Thomas, said it better than I ever could, Usually I spare myself from the news, because if it’s not propaganda, then it’s one threat or another exaggerated to the point of absurdity, or it’s the tragedy of storm-quake-tsunami, of bigotry and oppression misnamed justice, of hatred passed off as righteousness and honor called dishonorable, all jammed in around advertisements in which a gecko sells insurance, a bear sells toilet tissue, a dog sells cars, a gorilla sells investment advisors, a tiger sells cereal, and an elephant sells a drug that will improve your lung capacity, as is no human being in America any longer believes any other human being, but trusts only the recommendations of animals.
Why is all this stuff taking place? Romans 8:22 reminds us that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. But what about we Christians–shouldn’t we be exempt from all this bad stuff? Matthew 46-14 says, 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains. 9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. This has to happen, so, no, we are not exempt.
T. S. Eliot once wrote, However you disguise it, this thing does not change: The perpetual struggle of Good and Evil. It will be this way and worse until Jesus comes. Should this fill us with gloom and doom? 32 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. 33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world (John 16:32-33). Moses, in the Old Testament, writes, Be strong and take heart, and have no fear of them: for it is the Lord your God who is going with you; he will not take away his help from you (Deut 31:6).
So, while the trials and temptations may seem to constantly getting worse, remember, No temptation has seized you that isn’t common for people. But God is faithful. He won’t allow you to be tempted beyond your abilities. Instead, with the temptation, God will also supply a way out so that you will be able to endure it (1st Cor. 10:13).
This world is just a very confused and messy way-station and we’re waiting for our ride home.