Hundreds of Americans remain stranded in Afghanistan.

Thousands of firefighters in New York City decline to show up for work, putting countless innocent lives in danger.

Hundreds of thousands of airline passengers are stranded, their travel plans upended – missing milestones and long-planned special events.

Millions of packages and goods remain on barges in the middle of the oceans, threatening a global economy and delaying key shipments.

Welcome to dysfunctional America, 2021.

Bad and unfortunate things have been happening to people since the beginning of time, but rarely has so much unnecessary and avoidable misfortune happened so quickly – and at the hands of so few.

“Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered,” offered King Solomon in Proverbs (28:26).

Fair-mindedness demands we recognize that COVID-19 has upended norms and complicated everything. But it would be naïve to ignore the fact that radical actors have taken advantage of these unusual times, exploiting the pandemic every which way possible.

And whether calculated or by coincidence, events of the last few months would strongly suggest that wisdom is waning in Washington and elsewhere. Common sense appears to be in short supply.

God’s principles may not inoculate us from life’s struggles, but they exponentially improve our chances and help us navigate whatever circumstances befall us. They guide us by revealing how things really are, how things really work – and what we can do about it.

The Apostle Paul warns us that “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) – a reminder that troubles with our fellow man are inevitable. We’re all imperfect and in desperate need of help. We need a Savior to save and sustain us – but we also need to prepare accordingly, knowing that man’s fallen nature bends towards evil and wickedness.

As such, wisdom tells us that jihadists will fill a vacuum of leadership in the Middle East. Evil looks for an opening. It should be obvious that if you’re going to withdraw military troops from the area that you evacuate civilians first, keeping military in place to protect and defend the exit. You don’t leave weapons in the hands of the wicked.

When you ignore the issue of natural immunity and mandate vaccines to first responders, threatening to fire them if they don’t comply, many of those firefighters (and others in vital occupations like airline pilots) will object and even walk off the job.

And then what?

As someone wrote on Twitter yesterday, “We’ve gone from 15 days to flatten the curve to three shots or you’re fired.”

Elections have consequences – but so do poorly thought-out policies.

When you pay people not to work, many people will not work. And when people don’t or won’t work, our economy and everything else won’t really work either.

Could there be any silver lining to the low-hanging clouds?

Perhaps our current malaise and mess is awakening many to the ill-informed policies that have been romanticized for so long.

It was the late British prime minister Margaret Thatcher who once said, “The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”

That fact hasn’t seemed to stop many from trying, though. At the very same time America is approaching its debt ceiling, a crowd in Congress is proposing trillions more in spending. 

And actually suggesting it won’t cost us anything or add to the deficit!

Prayer remains our most potent answer to the problems that currently beset us. But simply bringing our concerns to the Lord shouldn’t be our only course of action. We must act within the sphere of our own circumstances.

On Election Day 2021, we might remember the counsel of the United States Secretary of State Jeremiah S. Black in 1860. He was once asked and answered the following rhetorical question: 

“How shall we avert the calamities with which we are threatened? The answer comes from the graves of our fathers: By the frequent election of new men.” 

Photo from Shutterstock.