Good Friday morning ...
We are living in “perilous times,” much like Paul described them in II Timothy.
Perilous means “dangerous, hazardous.” And these times are indeed hazardous.
Never in our lifetime have we faced anything like COVID-19. Many people today are living in fear of catching the dreaded virus. Indeed, COVID-19 has altered our lives, our recreational activities, our workplaces, our religious practices and how we shop. Washing our hands, always a good practice, is now a civic duty. We now hear words and phrases bandied about we rarely if ever heard before: Coronavirus, pandemic, social distancing, community spread, herd immunity, flattening the curve, shelter in place, PPE, and many more.
I think we can agree that we are also in perilous times financially. Never in history has any country, not to mention countries around the world, willingly shut down their economies to a grinding halt. Praise God things are looking brighter now on the economic front, but we’re by no means out the woods yet. Some are forecasting that a big Coronavirus spike in the Fall could lead to another lockdown, which could lead to a catastrophic downturn in the economy, wiping away all the gains that have been made in the last few months. We are living in perilous times.
Some are worried sick about the upcoming election. Someone told me the other day, “I’m SCARED! If so-and-so (the candidate she isn’t voting for) gets elected, I’m worried that America as we know it will end.” I’m generally not so pessimistic about elections if they don’t go my way because at 75 years old, I remember that in every election, the opposing sides have said that if their opponent is elected, it would spell the end of our country as a democratic republic. Well, the republic is still around. The constitution our forefathers wrote has served well to keep us from going too far too fast in any single direction. But this particular election, with all the problems our country is facing, does seem different. We certainly need to pray for our country … because we are living in perilous times.
We also watch with alarm the civil unrest in many of our cities, the resultant lawlessness and mayhem from those who go beyond peaceful protesting to wreak havoc and mayhem in many places, and the race-baiting and stoking of those tensions by social media, politicians and the press.
I won’t go into the rise of Russia as a military competitor, or China as an economic competitor.
I won’t discuss the deterioration of society’s moral standards to the point where pre-marital sex is the norm; adultery is pervasive; pornography is the single largest and most profitable sector on the Internet; and we are being daily assaulted with pressure to give in to alternative lifestyles.
Not to mention gangs, street crime, the scourge of drugs in our land, and many more discouraging and worrisome developments in our society.
Yes, without question, these are perilous times we live in.
But these are not the only perilous times our country has had to face. We have lived through other times that may, at the time, have seemed more perilous than these (i.e. The Civil War, The Great Depression, World War I and II, the riots of the 60's and 70's, the horror of September 11, 2001, to name a few).
And how did we manage to get through those events? Well, we struggled, we fought, we floundered, we fell backwards and got up again, we tossed and turned and thrashed about ... but we always landed on our feet, meaning, we landed where we were intended to land, squarely on our founding documents that has for 244 years set us apart from any other governing enterprise in the world.
We haven't always been united and probably never will be entirely, but we have been united enough to face our failures and inadequacies and to move beyond the perilous times of the present, knowing there will likely be more to come.
As people of God, there is an additional dimension to facing perilous times that gives us an extreme advantage over non-believers. That is our faith. It is our faith that sustains us during these times because we believe our times are in God's hands, that He is in control, that He has not left us alone, that He will never leave nor forsake us and that He has promised and made possible an ultimate ending. For "of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end." [Isaiah 9:7]
When you think about it, Christians should be the calmest people on earth during these perilous times. Why? Because we know the Lord and He holds the future in His hands. He was with us yesterday. He is with us today. And He will be with us tomorrow, no matter what may come.
"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." [Isaiah 41:10]
May God be with us through these perilous times and bring calming peace upon our land ...