By Jeff Miller
Back in 1971, Marvin Gaye released a poignant song titled “What’s Going On?” related to the turbulent times of the era. Now, 50 years later, we have to wonder the same thing. What in the world is going on?
It seems that the world around us has gone topsy turvy nearly overnight. A virus has caused us to halt our lives and decimate our economic situations––or is it the worldwide governments’ response to this virus that has caused that?
And speaking of government’s response, violent criminals were released from prisons due to COVID (figure that one out), while normal law-abiding citizens were either jailed or threatened to be arrested for opening their churches and businesses too soon or not wearing a mask in public.
As we have endured a lockdown longer than many have expected––some scared and others saying it’s a hoax––we are now seeing different sections of the United States trying to figure out how to go back to normalicy (some cities and states are still phasing out of lockdown while others are fully open––and have been for quite a while). But the hope of normalicy turned into bitter chaos as the result of a heinous manslaughter (yes, I believe it was 3rd degree manslaughter) which incited riots all over the country. Now every police officer is considered by some to be a racist brute. This happened just days after local, Sheriff and State police chased down a madman who apparently wanted to go out in a blaze of glory and wanted to take as many police officers (and perhaps others) along with him. This happened locally.
It wasn’t until the results of the 2016 election that it seemed rioting, violent protests and threatening smack talk became not only the right and just thing to do, but almost trendy with some celebrities who were perfectly unashamed of speaking violently against The President of the United States. When I was in high school, and the Los Angeles riots happened, I thought this was the worst I would ever see in my lifetime. I thought my generation would learn from that disaster. Unfortunately not. It seems that widespread rioting and organized chaos could very well be added to the ‘new normal’ that everyone is wondering and worrying about.
And how are cities responding to the violence, destruction and looting? Uhm….doing away with the police altogether and replacing it with who-knows-what. They say it will be a more peaceful police system, but I say it’ll eventually end up every man for himself like the lawless Old West. I hope I’m wrong, but if it comes to that, then how would the whole 2nd Amendment/gun control debate add into the whole debacle?
God help us. What in the world is going on?
Jesus said days like these will eventually come as it got closer to his return. Are we nearing the end? I don’t know. We’re a good 2,000 years closer, that’s gotta count for something. But let’s take a look at the words of Jesus:
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 the one 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 (Matthew 24:10-14).
We’ve seen many turn from the faith; we’re seeing a sudden myriad of teachings and beliefs about the Gospel. At one time it was so simple. Yes, there were disagreements about certain petty things. But now, it seems as if the Gospel is whatever you make it to be. We’re seeing an increase in wickedness, and the love of most growing cold. We’re seeing a reverse in morality, as if 2 Timothy 3 is being played out right before our eyes.
And that’s not even digressing into ID2020, and what could be the precursor to The Mark.
John Ritenbaugh, in Little Things Count, said: People who do not understand sin call evil good and good evil until society reaches the point illustrated in Genesis 6:5: “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” In cultures all over this globe, mankind is rapidly approaching conditions that are just like the days of Noah (Matthew 24:37).
So what do we do about it? Are we to close the shutters and hide in a corner waiting for Christ’s return? What if he doesn’t return in our lifetime? What if it’s another 100 years or more? What if this is just a hiccup in the timeline of humanity and things will iron out after a while.
In either case, we are called to be the light of the world. These times very well may get darker––much darker––before it gets brighter. It might not get bright again until Christ returns. Who knows? Our job is to shine the light. We are the ambassadors to the hope of the world. So long as The Church is on the earth, we need to get busy being the Church.
So what does that look like? Well, 1 Corinthians 13 is a good place to start. And perhaps the story of The Good Samaritan is another. It boils downs to doing what we can do with the opportunities presented to us in love. By the grace of God, by the talents we have, by the places that we happen to be in and the capacity we have to do it. And collectively, our light could shine brighter than it ever has before. It doesn’t have to be a big ministry. It doesn’t have to be (and probably won’t be) done in some big stadium by the next Billy Graham or Contemporary Christian Music artist (those days are probably gone, even in the music industry unfortunately). It doesn’t have to be high-tech and fancy, folks. It just has to be done in sincere love and compassion. Your love and your example of faith and hope in times like these could very well lead someone to Christ who wants that same assurance that you do.
Dear Lord, I pray for an increase of love in our hearts. May we not become bitter at the injustices and riots we see. May we not become bitter when we see false prophets proclaiming a false gospel. May we abide closer and closer in you in these dark times. I pray for your light to shine in us through these dark times. Amen.