I surely wasn't looking for trouble. It was a normal day, but I guess my trouble started because I consumed more than my usual amount of "news and information" coming in through the media and my trusty computer. By looking at news sites and blogs on my computer, reading the daily paper and listening to a bit of a few radio talk shows, I quite by chance collected a tidy little pile of smoldering information about what a terribly fallen world we live in.
Not any of these stories by themselves were things I hadn't heard before, or are even worth specific mention here. Suffice to say that they were stories demonstrating how far the world has gone from the teachings of Christ, and how the world holds the things of God in contempt -- in Hollywood, in Washington, D.C., in our nation's courts and schools, and among some worldly, super-tolerant, so-called "Christian" clergy.
Again, it was nothing I hadn't heard before, but somehow the sheer number of stories, or maybe the unwavering philosophical agreement in all the stories, caused my soul to reach some sort of critical mass of despair. I allowed myself to doubt there was much of a point in continuing the good fight here, and concluded that the salvation of the Earth was a bit of a lost cause. I began having that delicious recurring daydream of mine, about me and all my fellow believers relocating to a peaceful, private island somewhere, devoid of worldly strife and unbelief. I wanted to be like the singer of Three Dog Night's "Joy to the World," whose desire was to "throw away the cars and the bars and the wars, and make sweet love to you."
Have you had days like that?
Of course, as I was spiraling down, rubbing my palms together and getting ready for a good session of depression and self-pity, I recalled one verse from the Bible that served as a reminder to my fevered brain:
"In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)Another verse was lovingly put into my mind, the one which tells us that Jesus is not necessarily going to win any popularity contests or cause a big worldwide, hand-holding rendition of "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing":
"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law — a man's enemies will be the members of his own household." (Matthew 10:34-36)And then, as if to supplement those Bible verses, I happened (quite by accident?) to come across some quotes from famous Christians shooting down any defense of a retreat to the peaceful island:
"If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest expression every portion of the truth of God, except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I might be confessing Christ."
"When principles that run against your deepest convictions begin to win the day, then battle is your calling, and peace has become sin; you must, at the price of dearest peace, lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy, with all the fire of your faith."
"Push back against the age as hard as it pushes against you. What people don't realize is how much religion costs. They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the cross."Well, all of this was what I needed, if not what I welcomed. It rattled my brain back into realizing that events down here are not eternal truths, and that one day all this will fade away. But it also convicted me of how little I am doing to "push back against the age."
I'm still not totally out of my funk today -- I'm not sure I'm meant to be just yet, since it has caused me to think about some things I was blissfully ignoring just days before. So bear with me if I don't have a humorous post for awhile (although I know that soon I must tell my lion story because some of you have asked nicely for it).
Again I ask, do any of you have days like this from time to time? I'd be interested in hearing about how you met your doubts and fears.