“Things are worse than they’ve ever been.” That was the comment by an older gentleman with whom I was talking recently. He of course had a long list of valid reasons pointing to the fact that things are really bad. It’s not unusual to hear someone making a comment on how bad things are. It doesn’t matter what part of society you’re observing, things are pretty bad. Whether it’s the government and media daily squabble or the national debt rising at thousands and thousands of dollars every second or terrorism that could break out anywhere around the globe and the possibility existing that it could happen right near you, things are bad and they do seem to be getting worse.
To say things are the worst they’ve ever been is probably a stretch. I began to think about when things were really bad in the very beginning of human existence. As the Scripture tells about Adam and Eve living in a perfect world, a paradise of a garden, the joys they experienced were beyond understanding. He was a man who had been created and into whose nostrils God had breathed life and then placed him in the garden. Life was good. Then God took a rib and created woman. Can you imagine the day when Adam saw her for the first time and she saw him, and the two of them realized they were made for each other? There they were in that perfect home, but then that tragic day came when Adam and Eve did the unthinkable. God said everything in the garden was theirs, except for the one tree. Seeing the fruit was good, beautiful to look upon, and certainly must taste ever so sweet. They both took of the tree and they both sinned against God.
Then the world turned unbelievably bad. From that point on, food was going to be hard to get and put on the table because thorns and thistles were going to compete for the crops. Marriage was no longer a happy place, for the man and the woman lived in the strange relationship of difficulty in communicating and now were blaming one another. Then, on a day they could never have dreamed of, one fourth of humanity was wiped out in a day when a brother killed his brother.
It should be noted that when they said things have never been this bad, they were right. That was at the very beginning. As you contemplate how bad things are, you have to be honest in assessing periods of our history, even just American history, when things have really been bad. I think of the early struggles of our country during the Revolution to try to establish a country and break free of the tight fist of the British. People wondered what the future held. Was there a future? Times were bad. Once this fledgling nation began to grow, it then turned on itself, divided up, and fought a Civil War that would kill more of the citizens than any other war. People in the North and South must have thought that was the worst it had ever been.
Then as a new century had begun, we found ourselves enmeshed in World War I and things were really bad. Some years after the First World War, there came a deep depression, the Great Depression, where people lost everything and others had nothing to lose. It was a tragic economic time in American history and things were truly difficult. Sometimes impossible. In the depths of the Great Depression, Americans could not believe they were about to launch into World War II and thousands upon thousands of our fellow citizens would die in that war, a war to end all wars — but it didn’t. Truly, the times were so bad they were indescribable.
There have been wars and skirmishes taking place over and over since that worldwide war, and now we come to today. There have been so many periods where, as Scripture describes, nation shall rise against nation; there will be wars and rumors of wars (Matt. 24:6-7). They spread all over the continent and all over the globe, but we press on. Is this the worst that things have ever been? Maybe. Maybe not. Scripture describes that things will get worse in the last days. Paul writes in Second Tim. 3:1-4, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” That will be a bad time.
I mention all of these bad times not to bring depression upon your own soul, but to tell you that through all of them and this day, Jesus is still on His throne. He not only is alive and well and on His throne, He is going to return to earth once again. The worst of times will become some of the best of times when the people of God gather together with Him. Two things of which we need to be reminded — One is to keep our eyes fixed on Him. Two is to stay faithful doing what He has asked us to do. When we do, that may be a difficult time, but we can experience the wonder and the glow and the glory of God in the midst of it all.
“Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Rev. 2:10).
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.