May you live in interesting times.
- Ancient Chinese curse
Don't make me come down there!
Many in my parents' generation were convinced that Hitler was the Antichrist and WW II was Armageddon. My generation read and believed Hal Lindsay's Late Great Planet Earth and Paul Ehrlich's The Population Bomb. Apocalyptic portents seem to be part of every age, and many folks find such prospects oddly fascinating, and even attractive.
Others are repulsed by prophets of doom; they debunk and ridicule them, proclaiming with reciprocal certainty that no such evil will befall us. God is good, and will certainly protect his people from all harm, not to fear.
It is my opinion that the truth lies, not somewhere between these two extremes, but simultaneously in both. How so? Glad you asked.
We undoubtedly live in interesting times. While 'Global Warming' is a foregone conclusion in many circles, some scientists are actually warning of a possible Ice Age. Many cling stubbornly to a fear of overpopulation even as more developed nations face demographic implosion. Terrorism and turmoil continue unabated. Our newly elected leaders seem intent upon destroying our Constitution, and the new spending bills appear likely to result in economic chaos.
Some (including myself) see apocalyptic potential, not so much in these natural and political disasters, but in our culture's spiritual and moral disarray. Indeed, the former are merely the consequences and manifestations of the latter. A culture like ours that slaughters its innocent preborn and forsakes its foundation in the monogamous family is an empty shell, devoid of strength because devoid of virtue. It is certain to fall. Moral rottenness is the primary cause; one or more natural or man-made disasters are merely the proximate causes which will finally topple the emaciated phantasm.
Surely our doom is near.
Surely God will deliver us.
The two expectations are identical. History bears this out. God's cleansing, purgative work is usually not very pleasant. True love can cause awful pain.
There is, I believe, an alternative. A way to stay the hand of God and avoid his judgment. It's a pretty simple concept, too. It's called repentance. Lent is almost here; maybe we should give it a shot.