In discussing the spate of natural and man-made disasters that have beset our nation over the last year—the cover story of our March issue—someone recently asked me if it seemed “evident” that God was removing His hand of protection over our country as punishment for our many sins and collective failures.
People have been asking that question for decades—actually, centuries. And I understand some Christians are absolutely convinced it’s the reason we’re seeing some of these recent disasters. There are a lot of reasons I’d like to challenge that opinion—too many to elucidate in this small space. But let me share just a few.
Don’t get me wrong: It’s not like I’m unaware of all the bad things happening around us. I get breaking news alerts on my phone all day long, and they’re never positive. If that was all I had to go on, I’d probably be so depressed I couldn’t get out of bed, and just spend my time praying for Jesus to come back and take me home.
Fortunately, I have a better Source of information to shape my perspective of what the secular media tells me—and so do you. We get to choose where we put our focus.
Isaiah 60 tells us to do the following:
“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
Lift up your eyes and look about you!” (NIV)
This tells us two things are happening simultaneously: The enemy of our souls, who took control of our planet when Adam and Eve forfeited it to him at the Fall, is angrier than ever and wreaking as much havoc as he can because he knows his time is short. Therefore, darkness is growing—but the glory of the Lord is rising on His people at the same time.
Jewelers use dark velvet to show off the fire and beauty of gemstones; stage managers drop the house lights to draw everyone’s attention to the center of the theater, where the action is taking place. How much more able is God to use the current darkness as the backdrop for His glorious arising? So that’s one reason I’m not discouraged.
The big picture—consistent with the headlines, but reaching far beyond them—is that God is bringing some long-awaited justice to our nation, rather than punishment. Consider the way Hollywood has been melting down and transforming before our very eyes since the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal broke last fall (see our March 2018 issue for an opinion piece by Jim Daly on this topic). That’s justice. Just before this issue of Citizen went to press, Congress passed a bill that will hold Web sites that knowingly facilitate the sex trafficking of minors accountable for their actions (see our March 2017 issue for several items on this topic). That’s justice. Moreover, keep an eye out for next month’s issue, where we’ll bring you a story about how more states than ever are trying to divert taxpayer dollars away from Planned Parenthood to health clinics that don’t perform abortions. That’s some major justice.
Lift up your eyes and look about you. Good things are on the horizon! Press in!
Originally published in the May 2018 issue of Citizen magazine.