Luke describes the prevailing conditions in the last days as a time of “signs in the sun and the moon and the stars, and on the earth nations will be in distress, anxious over the roaring of the sea and the surging waves. People will be fainting from fear and from the expectation of what is coming on the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”
Today we cautiously watch as humanity’s structures begin to crumble. Global alliances are strained as political turmoil runs rampant. The war on terror does little to stop terrorism yet continues to cost precious lives. From commerce to health care, from fiscal policies to food production, our society is falling apart.
Marriage is assailed and attacked and more than half end in divorce. Children are viewing pornography, taking drugs and alcohol, becoming pregnant before graduating high school.
The world’s privileged few buy summer homes in the south of France while nearly a billion others around the world face starvation. We question the morality of how some people “own pennies in a jar” while others “own oil tankers.” We deliberate over why “some spend winter in a palace; some spend it in blankets.”
And so we send out bell ringers at Christmas time and set up yard sales to raise money to feed the poor, clean the air, save the latest endangered species, or whatever the most recent popular cause is. We develop programs to provide birth control in high school and set up daycare services for students. We offer no-fault, low-cost divorce so that everyone can participate. We mount massive drug awareness education programs and expand our drug rehabilitation centers all the while we fight to legalize recreational drug use. We are applying a Band-Aid® to a gaping, open wound while slashing our wrists all at the same time.
These are not sustainable solutions to society’s dilemmas. They address symptoms of the disease and not the disease itself. We are merely hacking away at the weeds but leaving the roots of sin firmly in place beneath the soil.
Paul warned us that “in the last days difficult times will come. For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, savage, opposed to what is good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, loving pleasure rather than loving God. They will maintain the outward appearance of religion but will have repudiated its power.” 2 Tim. 3:1-5 Well, that pretty much sums up our day and times!
But there is a solution. It requires a return to the Spirit of Truth. It requires replacing Jesus Christ and his teachings in our society, in our government, in our schools and, most especially, in our own hearts and minds.
Why is it necessary that we center our confidence, our hope, and our trust in the one solitary figure of Jesus of Nazareth? Why is faith in him so necessary to peace of mind in this life and hope in the world to come? And how do we avoid getting caught up in the prevailing pessimism and fatalism of the last days?
Our answers to these questions will determine whether we face the future with sustainable spirituality that will give us courage, hope, and optimism or whether, with the rest of the world, we fall into apprehension, anxiety, and despair.