By Will Graham
New epidemics, wars, famine, endless natural disasters plus a host of socio-political and economic crises: our world is in a desperate state. On a global level, we are witnessing a crying earth and a dying humanity.
You don’t have to be born-again to notice that something is going badly wrong with our world. In days gone by, apocalyptic messengers used to be prophets and priests, now they are scientists, politicians and sociologists. It is the godless realm of secular humanism that proclaims to us 24-hours-a-day through streaming media that all is chaos and that there is no hope. They used to speak to us of peace and progress, now they major on doom and destruction.
This current world crisis is much more than economical; it seeps into all spheres of life. We’ve got parents throwing their kids into dumpsters; sexual perverts that make the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah look like angels; and young folk so tormented by existential anguish that they decide to end it all in mass-suicide. Nevertheless, we would be wrong if we thought that this was the first time in world history that things were so dreadful. Many of the passages from the prophetic books register horrific judgments that came upon Israel and Judah for their disobedience to the Lord. In fact, if you want a sound commentator on our contemporary global breakdown, just pick up one of the biblical prophets. They too write about sacrificing helpless children, vile immorality and suicide.
The reason the Bible will help you better than your favourite current affairs magazine is because the Scriptures correctly diagnose the world’s problems. They don’t merely explain what is happening in society, but ‘why’ it is happening. They will show you that all of man’s troubles are of a theological nature. He is under a curse because his obsessive materialism, selfishness, compulsive pleasure-seeking and stiff hatred for the truth cry out to heaven for vengeance. His sin is to blame.
We find one such example of this truth in the words of a Spirit-filled man, by the name of Azariah, who preached of Israel’s history to King Asa, “And in those times there was no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in, but great vexations were upon all the inhabitants of the countries. And nation was destroyed of nation, and city of city: for God did vex them with all adversity” (2 Chronicles 15:5-6). If that statement doesn’t depict our 21st century world, I don’t know what does.
Did you notice that the man of God said, “There was no peace”? ‘Peace’ is like a Walt Disney fairy-tale word to us today. Who believes in peace anymore? Sleeping pills have become a multi-billion euro industry in the Western world because people no longer know what it is to sleep. Even the affluent and successful ‘fat cats’ and celebrities of society are so soul-afflicted that they’re unable to close their eyes at night. They drug away the pain within. And if the drugs don’t work, they throw themselves out of windows. Peace has departed from our shores. Will he ever return?
The question on everybody’s lips today is: ‘Is there hope for society?’ I was asked that very same question in an interview last week. My reply: ‘No, there is no hope.’ The interviewer proceeded, ‘But what if we had godly leadership in the nations?’ I answered: ‘No, because the problem is in the heart of the people.’ I do not desire to be a false prophet; so I am not going to give hope when none exists. Even if the world as a whole made a one-hundred-and-eighty-degree turn and entered into a golden age of unprecedented peace, prosperity and production; there would still be no hope. Riches profit not in the day of wrath.
As long as we speak of ‘temporal’ hope, we are wasting our time. Sooner or later, the world as we know it will cease to be (even it recovers from its present low state). However, if we are speaking of eternal hope, then I could give a different answer. Again I quote Azariah, but this time from 2 Chronicles 15:4, “But when they, in their trouble, did turn unto the Lord God of Israel and sought Him, He was found of them.” There is the only eternal hope for the nations: to turn to God in the midst of our current destruction. Charles West made a most splendid observation, “We turn to God for help when our foundations are shaking only to learn that God is shaking them.” The Lord is using this crisis to get our attention. I have attended numerous prayer meetings where believers have asked to pray against the current global crisis; but is that what the Almighty really wants? Why do so few seem to be prepared to acknowledge the hand of God in this disaster? Jeremiah asked a crisis-stricken people, “Why does a living man complain for the punishment of his sins?” (Lamentations 3:39).
I confess that the only help for the West and the rest of the known world in this world crisis is to turn to Jesus. God’s prophets raged fiercely at vice and corruption, but their lips were never void of promising hope to the repentant. And that hope is found in Jesus because that hope is Jesus. When people turn to Christ, they begin to live right, talk right and walk right. It is only turning to Jesus will bring healing to the nations and to our families (and nothing else).
He died for our sins. He died because we are wretched, vile, abominable and wicked. Our sin put Him on the cross- the most vicious and crushing crisis of all. We are to blame for the cross. But God is to praise for the cross! There, Christ took our blame upon Himself to save us from His Father’s wrath. So we take refuge from God in God. No-one of us will get out of this life alive, but turning to Jesus grants the power of an indestructible and incorruptible eternal life. Your credit card is not your Saviour; only Jesus is.
May you not miss the lesson that God wants to teach you in these turbulent times: that salvation is of the Lord! That Christ is sufficient for all of life’s petty troubles! That the only lasting and eternal hope is found in Jesus! And that the only lasting and significant crisis is for those that aren’t in Christ. Let us see all things with eternal values in mind.