Monday, June 30, 2008

Changes ahead

I received an e-mail from my sister Anita a few weeks ago about how the demographics of our world are changing. It was rather lengthy, but interesting to read. Once again, it was written by a guy with a resume that is lengthy and impressive (lots of initials after his name). The bottom line of the entire email is that if the Judeo-Christian populace doesn’t survive, and thrive, the world as we know it will cease to exist.

My grandmother’s world was ceasing to exist right before her very eyes. I remember her talking about living through the transition of going everywhere by horse and buggy, to traveling by car, then by airplane, and finally putting men on the moon—she didn’t live long enough to see the space shuttle. She spoke of the decline of morals, absolutes in our lives that acted as our moral compass.

The gentleman who wrote the article bemoaned the time when the world as we know it will simply cease to exist, other cultures will prevail, other religions will be more practiced and widely spread than Christianity, and the socio-economic structure as we know it will collapse. This will happen mostly because people simply won’t care what happens enough to make the changes to stop it.

Stop it? I have been studying the prophets in the Old Testament, Isaiah to be specific, and the similarities to what is happening in our world today are striking. Israel was carried off into captivity because no one did anything to change the onslaught of changes that were happening right in their midst; changes that didn’t’ fit God’s plan. God had a plan to draw His people back to himself and nothing they were going to do was going to change it. He was crying out through the voice of His prophets for Israel to return to the proper relationship with Him; they didn’t. His ultimate goal was to turn them back to him, to remind them that He is God, had delivered them, fed them clothed them, and mostly loved them. They were to love Him, worship Him and praise Him for that, not just in their daily lives but to others as well. They weren’t doing it.

We have many modern day prophets who have been crying out for years for the people of God to turn back and be the people He intended us to be. James Dobson bemoans the disintegration of the Traditional Family. Jerry Falwell warned that 9/11 was just the beginning of what was in store for us as a nation. Franklin Graham’s speech at the Columbine High School memorial service spoke honestly about the deterioration of our society showing itself in the massacre that took place there. These are a few of the “prophets” who are crying out to us to change our ways and turn back to God. They are just different “ways” than the prophets of old encountered in the Old Testament.

Anita prefaced the entire e-mail by saying that she was glad after reading it, that God is in charge. I am glad too, but I must remember that sometimes God allows things to get worse before He makes them better. I don’t see stopping the tide of change that is coming; “If God wants me with him, there are none who will stop him”, is one of the lines from the movie “Little Women” starring Clare Danes where she plays the role of Beth. As she is lying on her deathbed and Jo, played by Winona Ryder, tells her she doesn’t want her to go, Beth’s response reflects the acknowledgement and realization that God is in control. His will, as Jesus taught us to pray, will be done.
I believe that in the “last days”, there will be a purifying of the saints of God. Those who can stand the heat may still die by that fire; others will stand, and lose much for the sake of their beliefs. This is the warning of the Bible; if you read it, if you believe it. The epistles of the New Testament and many of Jesus’ prophecies warn us to be prepared for difficult and hard days. They warned us then, and are warning us now. Our world will continue to change and it won’t necessarily be for the better. Priorities will have to be set, for the children of God as well as the rest of the world. We will have to be prepared to seek God only, not wealth, position, or even victory. Our victory won’t be till Jesus himself appears. Until then we may suffer. We may not win this particular battle, but like in the book of Isaiah, when the enemy comes, if we are doing what God requires of us, the enemy will fall without a sword stroke from us. God will be our deliverer. Praise His Name!