Have you seen enough? Do you need more convincing? Like Elijah’s performance with Jezebel’s prophets, your cries and hand waving have fallen on deaf ears of dead gods. Now they are silent as the fire rages.
Like you, I had begun to believe in them, myself. As the news of Covid spread, we all assumed it would affect our Third World arms-length neighbors, but never us. We have organization, we have medicine, we have buffers upon buffers to keep something as primitive as a pandemic from happening. Yet it did. Shutting down everything, infecting everyone, and turning mature people, who seemed to have it all together, into frantic children.
Like you, I had settled in assuming that the democratic republic of our country was here to stay; stable, prosperous, unending. Sure we would have divisions, etc. There has always been fringe groups and conspiracy theorists on all sides. But in the end our institutions and our way of life would continue indefinitely. Yet, as the foundational education changed its virtues, values and even proposed a new unnatural morality, the citizenry split deeply in very central ideas of what it means to be a human being. People became divided at a very deep level. Like the scattering of languages at the tower of Babel, Americans no longer share a same vocabulary or metanarrative. We look like strangers inhabiting institutions completely unaware of how we got here. Instead of fixing them (and yes they need to be fixed) we are fine with tearing them all down – both left and right.
Like you, I had become comfortable in our current world order (only 30 years old – but we have amnesia). The global economy would stretch and satisfy everyone. Money talks or at least convinces. Francis Fukayama wrote “the end of history” declaring the end of the tribal past. Mankind had progressed to where evil could be expunged or at least find a less harmful avenue then taking over the world.
Like you, I worshiped the god of progress. I believed in humankind. Even though, that god was busy destroying and consuming people in horrific ways every day through broken marriages, hateful words, pornography, greed, selfishness, poverty, etc. I ignored much of the world that never got to live in the momentary peace and prosperity of the First World. I ignored the funerals that even I attended. I pretended that everything was just fine. My god took care of me and that’s all that mattered.
In no way should we give up on fixing things, helping others, praying for peace, and stopping bloodshed! May it never be so. But perhaps we should give up on placing all our hope on humanity. You will be disappointed in the end. Because the joke is – we are our worst enemy.
Repent. Let go of your gods. They not only ultimately fail us as they leave us with our guilt on our heads and a coffin at our end, but they also never stop demanding sacrifices.
It’s scary to let go of those hopes. It’s frightening to stop clinging to our retirement, our science, our politics. It seems foolish to stop throwing all our dreams of living safely and forever on account of our accomplishments and brilliance.
But when you let go, when you stop splashing frantically in the water, you realize you are weak, helpless, foolish, sinful, and totally in need of a savior. God will pick you up, like Peter from the sea, like a baby carried to the waters of baptism in his mother’s arms. There, God will be as the thief on the cross discovered when he looked over and saw another God hanging right next to him and for him. Jesus.
That’s how it works. That’s how it always works. God only helps the helpless, the desperate, the drowning and the sinner. When all other gods let us down, there is one hand that picks us up.
These are not surprising times to God. These are not frightening times to Jesus. From the fall of Rome to the oppression of the Soviet Union, Jesus picks up the pieces. From the young woman who lost her mom, to the disgraced old man who thought he was as far from God as possible, Jesus restores, frees, and embraces.
These are not empty promises from politicians, economists, or gurus. Jesus’ promises are written in blood on the cross. He means it when He pronounces you forgiven. He can back that up. Jesus’ promise comes from the one who is risen from the grave. His word has merit. HIs hand has a pulse. His salvation has already begun in real time with real people in the most terrible situations.
Nothing can separate you from the hold of this God; not your sins, your guilt, not wars or rumors of wars, not climate change or nuclear war, not death.
Jesus has you today and tomorrow. Unlike any other gods you got tangled with, this God loves you and will see you through.