We seem to live in constant fear. Recently, my wife noticed that we had lost phones, cable and internet. Though she knew it was an issue with our cable provider she jokingly said, “The terrorists are coming!” Her comment however, shows how much we think about the threat of terror attacks. The truth is the threat is real. We live in a post-911 society. We have incredibly powerful weapons that are capable of destroying cities. We have biochemical weapons that like rat poison can destroy entire populations. We also have angry and determined enemies who seem to only be content with the death of all things good. Combine this with the media churning out TV shows like ‘24’, and ‘Acts of Valor’ and we wonder why there is a hysteria regarding the end of our civilization.
But the end of our civilization is not where we draw the line. If we are going to be destroyed then we are going to take everyone and everything down with us. Enter into the picture: The Apocalypse. Movies like ‘I am Legend’, ‘The Book of Eli’, ‘The Road’, internet sites that warns of pending total economic crash, books on being ‘Survival Ready” and then to top it off we all have a local neighborhood dooms-day prophet filling every conversation with warnings and well…doom.
Can you relate to this? Do you feel this buzz of tension? I do.
Do you know what one cure is? Read history.
I am wading through a book called: ‘A History of the Church of England’ which was first published in 1953. As I read this, I am amazed at how time flies. With each page turn I pass through centuries and centuries of time. And as I read, I notice two things. In the midst of the ups and downs, times of peace and times of war the two things that seem to stand out are: people do not change and God sustains and heals with the gospel. People are sinners. This is easily seen in pagans wiping out a fledgling church, or man-centered heresy threatening to wipe out true doctrine or the church bent on destroying itself. However, in the midst of all this – God sustains the gospel and brings healing through the gospel. This in miniature also seems to be the storyline of all these ‘terror’ movies, TV shows and books: good exists, bad rises, good has nothing but a glimmer of hope, a battle ensues and somehow good endures.
Now – with this historical lens fixed in place – look at our current situation and consider these thoughts.
Isn’t it true that history repeats itself and the primary reason for this repetition is that people do not change? We have been and will always be broken sinners. Isn’t it true that during the most terrible times of our past we also experience a cleansing and healing? A cleansing that looks like the purging of all the false hopes we have put in place and a healing that looks like many broken people turning to the gospel.
I am no dooms day prophet, nor the son of a dooms day prophet – but unless Christ soon returns we will experience terror, war, famine and overall suffering – yes, even in the great U.S.A. Be rest assured, it’s-a-comin. I can say this with the history of mankind to back me up… I can also say that in the midst of this pending terror we can be assured that the gospel will endure. And friends, if the witness/martyrs in history have and continue to lay down their lives for the protection of and proclamation of the gospel, shouldn’t we get off the couch and do likewise?
Terror is nothing new and will continue to fill history books. Let’s resist fear and replace it with hope! Let’s resist anxiety and replace with joy! Let’s set down our apocalyptic pride in thinking that we have so much to lose in our way of life and consider how we can boldly proclaim the message of hope and healing. This message has endured so much and will be the only thing we have left – for it is the only thing that cannot be destroyed or taken away!