Contemplation of a bittersweet time

Haven’t done one of my stream-of-consciousness posts in a long, long time. It just doesn’t feel like a news day. Actually, despite the  24/7 ” news cycle”, there’s no such thing as news anymore. News used to be comprised of ” things you don’t see every day”. Unique happenings from the 4 corners of the world. North, East , West, and South; N.E.W.S.!

Yesterday morning the first couple of news items I read from my daily go-to sources, were so disturbing that I was literally nauseated. I put my usual morning news reading aside at that point. That’s why I didn’t post. Also, I have been restless several days waiting on word about tests my mom was having. Hard to settle my mind and ficus, so I opted for light, fiction reading instead.

God is so good to us. He gave us everything beautiful about life. The ability to love, the wonders of the universe, the breathtaking beauty of nature, the joy of welcoming a brand new little person into our world.

I never could have imagined how things could disintegrate here in America, and I say that with full awareness that this is just the beginning of suffering.

No matter how much I learn and begin to understand about God, I know I only have an inkling. He is so big. At times like these, nothing but knowing how big He is, affords any peace. I am more glad each passing day, that He redeemed me, because what we are witnessing, the very worst of human depravity in living color hour by hour, that is what He saved me from.

I am not referring to the mayhem caused by thugs and paid agitators. I mean it in the sense that literally ” there but for the grace of God, go I”. That evil nature resides within us all. Few people are willing to believe that. Especially people who grew up in church. Until you feel cheated and deprived of somethiing, and envy convinces you it is ok to take what you want because aren’t you just as entitled as anyone? Or until lonliness convinces you to settle for being used or abused, because of desperation and fear of facing life alone. Then you might come to face what sin you are capable of.

We look at the people burning, looting, assaulting people, and are disgusted, rightfully so, but we think ” I would never…” Thing is, that sin nature is the same one in every one of us.

Why God deemed that I would be born in America, in this era, I will never know. Even as I witness lawlessness take hold, I can only be grateful that I did not live my whole life under these conditions we are watching develop. Even as I watch our kid’s future look darker, I can only thank God they were born here, and that they know Jesus died to redeem them.

Most of those rioting in the streets, I have to wonder, have they ever heard the gospel?

When a society reaches the point where infants are the most targeted by pedophiles than any other age of children, when the awareness that pedophilia is rampant becomes just one more unfortunate reality of life, can society sink any lower?

I just finished reading the Old Testament through again last weekend. There is nothing like reading the Old Testament to remind us how God feels about rebellion and sin. It tends to make a person appreciate being born in the age of grace. If we will let it, the Old Testament will show us how human nature always tests the boundaries. We can easily forget the fierceness of God’s righteous wrath. In this age of grace, it is easy to believe that because consequences are delayed, God must have lightened up, loosened His standards. Like He is the “kinder, gentler” Jesus who thinks nothing of our divorces, porn habits, drinking, talking like the heathen, immodest attire, and coarse joking. I am referring to professing Christians. Even when He gets us to the point we see our guilt in the light of His holiness, and we experience shame, and maybe even humility, enough to know we need a Savior, we still can develop that callous all over again, forgetting what He saved us out of.

We are supposed to be serving Him with our lives. I did not realize that until I was in my mid to late 40’s. Too much of the influence of “Jesus has a wonderful plan for your life” teaching was going on. Early on, I thought only missionaries were the ones who would serve Him, and only those He “called”. There was a certain level of piety they possessed, and selflessness. A special class of Christians. I aspired to be among those because I really believed I loved the Lord that much. That was my naive youthful conception drawn more from storybooks than teaching or scripture.  But God has a way of letting us discover how easily and quickly we can trade in that heart-desire as we transition into adulthood and all of the pressures and demands and harsh realities of it. I don’t even mean temptation, although that does come. What I mean is that we grow up in our family structure, and that is all we know. Then we are expected to fly from the nest and make our way, and though some people seem to do this smoothly and effortlessly, I was never one of those people. These days, kids are exposed to so much and so early, they already have some idea what awaits them. Many never had much sheltering growing up, like my generation still had. By my 20’s that ” your best life now” and “felt needs” trend had taken deep root in many churches. Just when I really comprehended my own sinfulness, there was no place to turn to find out ” where do I go from here?”

I mourn that our kids, just getting going in adulthood, won’t get to experience the America I did.  But then, 9-11 defined the world for their generation from the time they entered elementary school, so “that” America really was already gone. Our oldest was in kindergarten, and that is the defining moment that inspired his plan to enter the Army. The 20’s are hard. I hate that moment when we can’t shelter them any longer.

I hope all Christians start getting their head out of the sand. More are waking up. But human nature likes to enjoy ease and self-fulfillment and often until harsh truths make their way to your door, a lot of folks simply don’t want to hear about it.

I have never been able to pass by someone who obviously needs something, without at least trying to help. But I can’t judge the ones who aren’t that way. One of my most shame-filled moments was when, in nursing school, we spent two days working in a facility for children with severe disabilities. I was not repulsed in any way, it just hurt too much. It was a difficult experience and I was glad when it was dine, but ashamed of myself for being relieved. I can handle interaction with a person with severe disability, but this was 30 children of middle school age. So, no, I cannot judge people who refuse to face where America is headed.

Those in areas where they are still enjoying a degree of insulation can still do that. But not much longer, and I fear those will be utterly unprepared spiritually, psychologically, emotionally and physically when it reaches their door.

I remember in ’08 when America was in a recession. When you don’t have wealth, that kind of thing can happen and it barely effects your life. Same in the 70’s and into early 80’s.

The multi-trillions of dollars of wealth that was recently redistributed via increased unemployment benefits, stimulus checks and business loans, bought us a few more weeks of quasi-stability, and truly it is nothing but God’s own hand that is keeping any degree of law and order here in America.

This article from Prophecy News Watch doesn’t paint a very rosy picture.

It feels strange when it seems we have one foot in heaven already, doesn’t it? I have not lived a life devoted to serving God. I haven’t even lived most of my life intentionally considering Him in all I say, do, decide, think, or ask for.

I take much comfort in the recorded accounts of David, Saul, even “righteous Lot”.  Trying to be the kind of Christian God wants, “taking after” our SaviorJesus, I don’t know if that counts much. Can anything that originates in our own intent have eternal value?Yielding, getting self out of the way, so He can use me, is not easy. Kindness, compassion, meekness, gentleness, those things He wants to see developed in us, those get harder for me the older I get and the more evil I witness. But even in the current situation our nation finds itself in, there have been many instances of kindness, concern for others, willingness to help another, and every day is a new opportunity to find a way to be the hands and voice of Jesus Christ to lost ones around us, and edify brothers and sisters in the faith.

Praying always . . . for all saints. And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth BOLDLY, to make known the mystery of the gospel. For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak BOLDLY, as I ought to speak” (Eph. 6:18–20). And so, let us pray together.

These are uncertain times, perilous times, and bittersweet, but like every other time, these times are ordained of God. Nothing is happening that He didn’t tell us in His Word to expect.

 

 

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