Miss Nohara was my 2nd grade teacher. Among many other things, I remember most that she taught me how to spell yes-ter-day and to love the American flag. I think she was a child living in Hawaii when the United States was Pearl Harbored. I had what my son calls an old school education. Besides reading, writing and arithmetic (a rat in the house might eat the ice cream), I was taught to love my country.
I grew up believing that America was imperfect but good and noble and that her foundation was in the Christian faith I grew up with. We were not far from the victory in WWII and the Korean war. The cold war had just started. Newsreels, the old B&W kind, of battles in these conflicts often played between feature films at the movies. You grow up with that as a boy and you want to be one of those guys who fought bravely for their country.
Predictably, as a young man, I took the oath to support and defend the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. Ended up serving in the Army for 22 years. Eventually it dawned on me that the oath meant something different to the power elite than it did to me. Who was the enemy? Your outspoken neighbor? Who decides? Gen Smedley Butler said war is a racket. I think he was right, especially in today’s corporate world.
The other day, reminiscing about my upbringing, I let myself feel a bit nostalgic and disappointed. After a start in life during such hopeful times, now it looked like I was part of the generation overseeing the demise of the Republic. Even when I was a child in the 1950’s, there open talk that we were headed in the wrong direction. Back then, I wished I had been born in the last half of the 19th century, the era of the cowboy. I was born of Western stock and heard many stories from my parents and grandparents about life back in the day. The pictures in my mind were more romantic than the real history.
Recently, I learned a new social media idiom that well describes the outlook of many of us in these days of social media: doomscrolling. Doomscrolling or doomsurfing is the act of spending an excessive amount of time reading large quantities of negative news online. I receive links to these kinds of articles every day from friends. I wish they wouldn’t. If I read or listened to them all, I would not have time to get anything else done.
Seems like most of what is published these days throughout the spectrum of popular opinion appeals to our fears. If you are not a careful reader, you’ll miss the use of MAY and MIGHT tagged onto assertions of certain doom just around the corner.
Sir John Glubb published, The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival in 1976. It was an historical analysis of the birth, life and death of empires. They last about 250 years according to Sir John. Other researchers have come to similar conclusions. Big discovery? Well, if we are familiar with the history of Israel and see the wickedness of the culture around us, we don’t need experts to tell us how to understand the times. Looking at our epoch through the lens of Scripture, we are just a few years from the end of the American empire, not just might or may. God is shaking the earth and what is firm will remain. Life will go on. Meantime, what is the best use of our time right now?
Yes, I’m disappointed that I was born to see the demise of the Republic. But that was by God’s sovereign will. It is a needed course correction from idolizing a human institution to keeping my mind on things above, not things on earth. (Colossians 3:2) That doesn’t mean to be so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good. It means to keep your eyes on your Commander, the One seated on his throne who must reign until he puts all of his enemies under his footstool. (1 Corinthians 15:25).
Even in times like these, God works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) To that promise we cling. I’ve had a good life, full of adventure and blessings too many to count. The ship may be going down but I’m still in God’s hands and am going to enjoy the ride. There is nothing new under the sun. We are not the first generation to witness the demise of a social order we held so dear.
I got to wondering how long the Hebrew republic lasted before it split and how many years the Northern and Southern kingdoms lasted. Didn’t take too much research to come to a general conclusion.
- The period of the judges lasted 335 to 385 years.
- The united kingdom lasted 120 years.
- Israel, the 10 tribes, lasted 200 years.
- Judah lasted 350 years, 150 years longer than the northern kingdom.
Total estimated time the people were in the land as a recognizable people with a history passed on from generation to generation, 805 to 855 years. That by God’s grace and faithfulness to His promises. The political systems changed, and the people were often under the thumb of neighboring enemies, but all of this was under God’s Sovereign rule and timing.
Counting the period of the colonies, we’ve been around for about 400 years. God disciplines and restores his people by the kinds of things we are experiencing right now. It brings repentance and without it, there will be no reformation or revival. What if the worst happened and we become a vassal to an alien political entity? God’s people would still be God’s people. We would still worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Chin up. These are times of high adventure that call for courageous people of faith. We were born for a time such as this. Let us not grow weary of doing what is right.
Abhor what is evil, cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another with mutual love, showing eagerness in honoring one another. Do not lag in zeal, be enthusiastic in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, endure in suffering, persist in prayer. 12:13 Contribute to the needs of the saints, pursue hospitality. Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse. Romans 12:9-14