America’s stock market has tumbled, taking with it billions of dollars of investment savings, which for many were the hopes and dreams of a secure retirement. Today more than half of Americans are invested in the stock market. The fall in stock value rivals the great October 1929 Wall Street crash, which led to the Great Depression. The biggest bankruptcy in history is proclaimed as WorldCom restructures its debt and tries to survive. Instead of seeing executives leap from windows, we see them hauled away in handcuffs to face charges of theft, deceit and corruption.
Throughout the Western states, raging forest fires have burned millions of acres, destroying homes and other personal property. The force of these fires is staggering. Drought continues in many areas where below average amounts of rain not only limit the crops of one season but also fail to replenish rapidly diminishing water tables, threatening whole regions for years to come.
Even seasoned worldly-wise commentators use biblical-type descriptors such as “signs,” “portents” and “end time,” while trying to come to grips with the news.
Terrorist bombings continue in Israel. President Bush was furious when American students studying at Hebrew University were killed in a bomb blast on July 31. No one, it seems, has any idea how to bring the Palestinians and Israelis together in peace.
We have watched in sadness and horror while little girls are kidnapped from their homes, brutally assaulted and tossed aside by sick-minded men who don’t fit in a civil society. The loss is compounded as the media, cloaked in the thin guise of reporting, seeks to milk each tragedy for all its pathos and poignancy.
And then, during the last week of July, two incidents occurred that give a ray of encouragement and note of hope. Two teenage girls in Southern California were kidnapped at gunpoint. A convergence of recently installed technology, public alertness and, one hopes, providence brought authorities to the rescue. Although the girls suffered assault, their lives were spared.
The other story is that of the “miracle nine” coal miners trapped for nearly four days in a collapsed southern Pennsylvania mine. Rescuers worked around the clock drilling holes into the mine to pump oxygen and create a shaft large enough to raise the men from the cold underground waters. During those uncertain hours, families gathered to pray and encourage one another. And then in the early hours of July 28 we saw the men rise from the ground, one at a time. It made you think in terms of a resurrection. It was a happy occasion for the country. You could sense a spirit of encouragement, if only for a brief time, in the midst of all the other serious and sad events.
When people come together to save lives, it gives hope. For those in our audience who pray “Your kingdom come,” these miracles are a reminder of good things to come as we are refreshed with the ageless reality of Christ’s words in John 10:11 John 10:11I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.
American King James Version×, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” God has not forsaken the earth or His people. Christ rules from His throne in heaven waiting and watching for the time to return to the earth in power and glory as King of Kings. All things, including peace, justice and safety, will be restored. WNP