Is our world worse today than it used to be? Our immediate response is to think, “Yes, of course it’s worse.” I personally struggle with fear when I realize how many kidnappings, murders, and assaults take place in the U.S. every day. Hearing about the constant turmoil in the Middle East or the steady encroachment on our liberties scares me. It’s so easy to think that our time is much more awful than our parents’ time or our grandparents’ time. We as humans naturally think our circumstances are worse than anyone else’s, because we’re pretty selfish. We also hear about way more bad things happening than they ever did.
However, are more bad things actually happening? I think that’s ultimately debatable, and I’m not going to get into the nitty-gritty of facts and figures right now. As a concept, however, I find this fascinating. Bad things happened when my parents were young too. Kidnappers didn’t start working just because I was born. People have been murdered since the time of Cain and Abel. Your grandparents probably lived through World War II, for goodness’ sake! And you cannot say that that was easier to face than our struggles. To deal every day with the threat of Hitler wreaking evil all over the world – can you imagine how terrifying that must have been?
Now, yes, it is true that our world is becoming ever-more sinful as we draw closer to the End Times. Our society as a whole is probably worse than it was when our grandparents were young. More people live together before they’re married; more children are born out wedlock; divorce is at an abhorrently high level. Nonetheless, my grandparents’ world was not perfect. And bad things happened to them too. I believe it was my pastor who said, “It’s not that the world has gotten so much worse. It’s that our news coverage has gotten better.”
This has really struck me the more I’ve thought about it. Yes, we can live in fear of the ever-increasing horror that is our world. We can cower as we listen to the news, wondering how we’re ever going to survive. But you know what? We’re not going to. Eventually we will die. You may die from old age; you may be murdered at the prime of life; you may lose your life because of cancer. But that is not the end. The way God intends it, humanity’s story is not completed on this earth. Far from it. Our time on Earth is just a blip in eternity. We’ll spend the rest of our time in one of two places. So, no matter how bad this world gets, God’s plan hasn’t changed. And it’s important to remember that God has not forgotten us. He has not abandoned us to the evil in this world.
In Genesis 9, God established a covenant with Mankind that He would never again flood all the earth. The rainbow symbolizes this particular promise, but I often think of it as a reminder of all His promises. And God still sends rainbows…
So, in the midst of our struggles, when it feels like the world is crashing down, we can remember that our God has not abandoned us. And just like God’s plan remains the same, our mission has not changed. If nothing else, it’s become even more critical. We are called to share Jesus with the people around us. We are called to be faithful to God’s leading. We are called to love our neighbors. The way that looks for each of us may be different, but our purpose remains the same. How will you answer the call?