Someone recently mentioned to me that my cultural commentary of late has not seemed very postmilly. Where did all my optimism go?
Many years ago members of my family were assembling for breakfast, and I believe the demeanor of all of us was somewhat somber, particularly my mother. This inspired my father, seated at the other end of the table, to begin singing an old gospel tune, keeping time with his spoon in the air.
Cheer up, ye saints of God,
There’s nothing to worry about!
Remember Jesus loves you, so why not stand up and shout!
You’ll be sorry you worried at all tomorrow morning.
At the time it didn’t go over that great, but there is a lesson in it.
As I write about race relations, and sexual lunacies, and petty despotisms, and the abortion carnage, and grand despostisms, and the predations of our ruling pirate class, the impression seems to be that I have gone all Barry McGuire, the way he was before his conversion.
And you tell me
Over and over and over again my friend
Ah, you don’t believe
We’re on the eve of destruction.
So then, allow me to present 7 stone cold reasons for confidence and upbeat optimism. Cheer up, ye saints of God . . .Show Outline with Links
Christians have an eschatological orientation. It is possible for us to know, in the midst of all our challenges and conflicts, that the word of the prophets was given for our encouragement and hope. “And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (Rev. 5:10). We were taught to pray that the kingdom would come to earth, not that the kingdom would float off into the sky. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Not thy will be done in Heaven when we get there. The meek shall inherit . . . what?
When the edict of Haman for the destruction of the Jews went out, Mordecai only saw one way out, and that was for the queen to intercede on behalf of her people to the king. But he was a man of faith, and not just a man with a plan. He knew that it was possible for Esther to falter. He knew that she might stumble. And so he said, “For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place” (Esther 4:14, ESV).
Mordecai knew how to read the story he was in. Scripture presents us with many different kinds of stories, and we are called to discernment as we seek to place ourselves We are in an Esther story.
Clear Theological Distinctions
Centuries ago Augustine wrote his great work The City of God. He did this because Rome had been sacked by Bernie supporters, and many Christians who had too glibly equated Rome with the kingdom of God needed some encouragement. The United States of America, as it was in the times of the good Dwight Eisenhower, is not the same thing as the kingdom of God. The disappearance of the former is not the same thing as the disappearance of the latter. The kingdom of God is doing very well. The America I grew up in, not so much. Idolaters are always discouraged when the idol falls, but Christians serve the living God of Heaven.
I watched Melania’s speech to the RNC last night. We are clearly in the middle of a made-for-tv movie, and those things always turn out okay.
Stupidity Doesn’t Work
In the long run, stupidity doesn’t work. Stupidity never works. If it worked, it wouldn’t be stupidity. Lady Thatcher reminded us that socialism doesn’t work because sooner or later you run out of other people’s money. A lot of the lunacy we see around us has to be subsidized in order to function at all, and the subsidies are starting to run out. We are in that point of the cartoon where Wile E. Coyote is standing ten feet off from the lip of the cliff, holding the Acme Anvil of Deficit Spending, but just an instant before he looks down.
We cannot pray for the purification of the silver, and then despair when we begin to approach the furnace that removes the dross. The church in America is shot through with corruptions. If we want that corruption removed, then we must also want God’s appointed instruments for removing it. When God wants to reveal what cannot be shaken, He does so by shaking. That is where is are right now, and it should be a great encouragement to us. That is, it should be a great encouragement for those whose ministries are not chaff, dross, or loose unmortared stones.
In Luke 19, Jesus tells the story of the ten servants given ten minas each. In this version of the story, He throws in a curious aside — “But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us” (Luke 19:14).
In other words, while the servants had their own gifts, challenges, and fears, they were also laboring in an environment that was hostile to the master they were working for. And the point of the story is that Jesus was commending the servants who, in addition to whatever ordinary risk there might be on their investment, had to deal with the surrounding enmity toward them and toward their master.
The lesson is that when things get tough, the godly are still expected to turn a profit. When nothing grows up but troubles, we are called to become trouble farmers, and to sell our crop at a tidy profit. And if Jesus said to do it, it must be possible to do.
Can I get an amen?