In the mid-seventies I was pontificating and prognosticating from my dorm room in Dallas.
Hardly anybody these days remembers that my dorm room in Dallas was the nerve center of Intellectual Vitality in the West at that time.
At least it was the center of nerve.
My audience of one was a fellow student exactly one month older than I. Whether he was more qualified to weigh in on the subject was a possibility which never occurred. How could I have known that within five years he would be teaching Greek in the Italian language?
How could I know I would’ve been better off listening than holding forth?
My thesis went something like this:
There was a worldwide oil crisis.
We were running out of fossil fuels.
The Cold War was pretty tense with both Super Powers loaded to the gills with atomic weapons.
As the oil ran out there would be a fierce clamor to seize the dwindling resources. It was inevitable then that the nukes would be slung and the world would be done. A serious conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union meant mutually assured destruction.
That’s even what the deterrence strategy was called.
But we Christians knew that God was going to reserve for Himself the option of destroying the planet.
So then, I concluded, Jesus had to come.
I theorized as if God had no choice.
You may guess that I wasn’t terribly advanced in my theological studies by that time.
My patient and scholarly friend, after taking it as long as he could, interjected casually, “Or the world could simply sink into a new Dark Age.”
Well golly I hadn’t thought of that.
On this large topic I had failed to take into account more than one large thing.
First of all the world was not running out of fossil fuels.
The more or less universal socialistic economic policies were producing shortages. That, and the OPEC embargo against nations (the US and the Netherlands) deemed too friendly to Israel.
But my bigger error was theological.
Evidently God has never been obliged to fulfill His promises in ways I saw fit and proper.
History and Scripture show that we humans are not only so spiritually infirm that we have a hard time believing God’s promises, we are also so intellectually infirm that we have a hard time understanding God’s promises.
I hope with all my heart that the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is near. Discouraging trends are able to be viewed as encouraging friends if they are signs of the Lord’s return.
It may be that, all told, things are no worse than they’ve ever been. It may simply be that the West is so inconvenienced by this virus that we have the impression that things are much worse. Whereas those nations long mired in poverty, disease and political turmoil are not aware that things are any worse than they’ve ever been.
Alternatively, many countries actually are worse off because their medical resources cannot match our own.
What with racial strife, political division and Western fires we in the US may feel we are the more ravaged at times.
Who knows who, in reality, suffers more of this or less of that?
Two things at least are certain:
- We are over 40 years closer to the Coming of the Lord than we were during those days when I limited God’s options in Dallas long ago.
- The only hope for our decaying planet is the appearance of the Son of Man in the sky.
Does that sound far-fetched and forlorn?
It is the opposite of that.
It’s the surest certainty in the world.
He came first to offer.
He will come again to impose.
May the last prayer of the Scripture be our first prayer of the morning.
Come Lord Jesus, come.