What’s Wrong with Our World?
"Refuse to be discouraged by the many signs that planet earth is the insane asylum of the solar system." (Anonymous)
It was calm just before the storm. Shortly after sunrise, December 7, 1941, the peaceful security of a sleepy Sunday morning was shattered as the unwelcome monster of war intruded into tranquil Pearl Harbor. While negotiations were going on with Japanese representatives in Washington, Japanese carrier-based planes swept in without warning over Oahu and attacked the U.S. Pacific fleet. Nineteen naval vessels, including eight battleships, were sunk or severely damaged; 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed. Military casualties were 2,280 killed and 1,109 wounded; 68 civilians also died. The next day, the United States declared war on Japan.
War is not always between nations. Sometimes it is between our higher and lower natures, and tragically ends in the dark side winning. Sometimes it is between innocent bystanders and thugs, with criminals inciting violence and brutally murdering victims. Sometimes it is between radicalized terrorists and opponents of their fanatically-conceived ideal society, with indiscriminate killing of all who happen to be in their way.
America has a problem with violence. In June, South Carolina church members were killed during a Bible study due to race. New York City has more police officers than many countries have in their standing army; yet over 1,000 a year are gunned down by fellow citizens. News from our nation’s capital is dominated by murder. Violence screams in often-repeated headlines—innocent children at Sandy Hook, innocent movie patrons in Aurora, innocent churchgoers in Charleston, innocent party-goers in San Bernardino.
America has a problem with terrorism. The FBI reports that last Wednesday's slaughter of fourteen innocents in California was an act of terrorism, the first on our soil since 9/11.
We live in a wilderness—a terrifying situation where demons lurk, a territory where chaos and bewilderment reign, “the land of the shadow of death” (Isaiah 9:2).
What’s wrong with our world? The Bible answers—“No one is righteous—not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. They rush to commit murder. Destruction and misery always follow them. They don’t know where to find peace. They have no fear of God at all” (Romans 3:10-18 NLT). Albert Camus (Notebooks, 1935-1942) wrote, "We used to wonder where war lived, what it was that made it so vile. And now we realize that we know where it lives, that it is inside ourselves.” Billy Graham said, "The heart of every problem is the problem of the human heart."
Who will show us the way out of this wilderness to the promised land? President Obama has vowed that America will defeat ISIL, but will military solutions work? Can politicians deliver on their promises to ensure our security? Where is peace to be found?
“A child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice for all eternity.” (Isaiah 9:6-7 NLT). The Messiah's reign will solve problems that have befuddled politicians, scientists, warriors and philosophers ever since sin polluted the human heart.
The sunrise of the Day of the Lord, when “the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines in our hearts” (2 Peter 1:19 NLT), will bring sin's monstrous reign over this troubled world to an end, replacing pandemonium by the peaceful reign of the King of kings. The Messiah will rule forever over a new earth where righteousness is the order of the day. Human solutions have never worked, but heaven's will. A new world's coming -- it will be stormy just before the calm.
Johnny R. Almond
Interim Pastor, Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church; Fredericksburg, Virginia