This past Fourth of July, I sat on a dock, celebrating the birthday of America by watching fireworks shooting up from at least a dozen different places around Lake Cayuga in upstate New York. It was awesome, and as I enjoyed the beautiful bursts of colored light, my mind drifted back to my childhood. I remembered watching similar fireworks displays from my great-grandparents’ front yard. They too had lived along a lake.
It felt right, this celebrating of our American way of life. I found it comforting, this tradition of picnics and fireworks, which I’ve been participating in for almost 60 years. Then, sadly, my mind also turned to the turmoil our country is experiencing, particularly the deadly violence between certain citizens and certain policemen. That led to thoughts about the mass-killings taking place in Europe and other parts of the world. It certainly seems as if a sort of insanity is gripping our planet, and we’re all spiraling down, down into anarchy. Public figures plead: “Can’t we all just get along? We can make a difference, if we just try!” Month after month, headlines seem to prove we cannot get along with one another. Why?
God promises to step in and end the mayhem. Christ will return to put this world in order. Don’t be deceived into thinking we can solve these problems on our own.
Because we’re being deceived.
There is a reason for the mayhem we see and hear about. The prophet Daniel was shown a vision of a world like ours: “Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase” (Daniel 12:4). We live in a fast-paced, inter-connected world. Our scientists are pushing back the edges of the unknown at an astonishing rate. We’re developing incredible technologies. And we believe we are enlightened; various groups are pushing hard to create all-inclusive societies, accommodating all beliefs, all lifestyles, and all priorities, to provide happiness for all people. Yet our cities are simmering cauldrons of bitterness and anger. This is because “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19).
The deception is that we have the technologies, and the compassion, and the wisdom to fix our problems. The deception is that we possess the tools to right the ship—we just have to put our minds to it. The deception is that we don’t need any help. But we do need help.
Fortunately, the help we need is actually here, and it's available to us.
God promises to protect those who look to him in truth and sincerity. “Because you have kept my word . . . I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming upon the whole world” (Revelation 3:10). We can put our trust in God, knowing He is not distant. Through His Word, He entreats us to follow the living example of His Son, to stay above the fray. If we strive to do that, He promises to be our guardian.
Jesus declared: “There will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:21-22). God promises to step in and end the mayhem. Christ will return to put this world in order. Don’t be deceived into thinking we can solve these problems on our own. We cannot; but God promises He will return and sooth the anger fueling the social discord, and put to right the injustices causing it. The violence and suffering are indeed grievous, but we can have a measure of peace and comfort, knowing God is watching. At a time of His choosing, He will bring peace to all nations.