Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Finding Hope in Babylon

I’ll cut to the chase by stating the obvious. I am deeply disappointed at the results of the election on November 6.  I find little or no comfort in any of the results.  Beyond disappointed, I am frightened.

I was just as frightened, albeit prayerfully hopeful, in the months preceding the election, as I watched our continually deteriorating and weakened nation losing its way.  Our economic woes, exacerbated by profligate spending of money we do not have, have us careening toward a fiscal cliff, yet we continue to speed pedal to the metal as if the laws of basic economics—or even basic math—did not exist.  Like the law of gravity, they are pretty non-negotiable.

The reason I was prayerfully hopeful is because the issues were laid out clearly and starkly.  Surely the people would not continue on this insane path.  Yet a slim majority of us decided to close our eyes, stay the  course and hope for the best.  On top of the fiscal insanity, our culture continues to deteriorate.  Mob behavior is encouraged and celebrated, and ideas that were once universally disparaged as immoral or absurd are now a matter of serious debate.  To add insult to injury, my home state of Maryland has become among the first in the union where the voters freely chose to not only tolerate deviant behavior, but affirm and honor it by codifying an oxymoron like “homosexual marriage” into law.  And to mix fiscal insanity with cultural decline, they also voted to expand gambling in the hopes that it will put more money into the coffers of lying politicians who promise to spend it on education.

I sometimes wonder if our nation will even survive.  The ash heap of history is full of once great civilizations that thought they were immortal but eventually committed collective suicide.  Is it now our turn?  Oh, no.  This is the United States of America!  It will never happen to us!  (Famous last words!)

My prayers before the election were that God would have mercy on us and not judge us by giving us the government that we deserve.  Perhaps He has chosen to not answer those prayers, and He would be perfectly just in doing so.  I sometimes wonder how Jeremiah felt, taking no comfort in being correct as he prophesied the destruction of Judah.  After all, it’s not that he was immune to what was going to happen.  He too would be going down with his countrymen.

I no longer feel at home in my culture.  Outside the circle of like minded friends and family, especially those in my church, I feel like I am an exile in an alien culture, much in the same way that the exiles of Judah and Israel felt after they were deported to Babylon.  But therein lies my hope.  Even when Jeremiah’s prophecy inevitably came to pass, God still showed mercy to His people in exile, and spoke to them tenderly through Jeremiah:

This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.  Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease.  Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:4-7,11)

So that is what I intend to do.  I will carry on.  The fright has given way to a sense of resignation, even serenity, as well as a tiny glimmer of hope.  I will continue to work to the best of my ability.  I will love and serve my family.  I will seek to be a blessing to those around me.  I will continue to go to church and try to live out my faith in the midst of an alien culture, and prayerfully try to influence it positively.  And I will also heed the words of the Psalmist:
Do not put your trust in princes,  in human beings, who cannot save. (Psalms 146:3)


Anonymous said...

The prophecy that Habakkuk the prophet received.
Habakkuk’s Complaint
2 How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? 3 Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. 4 Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.
The LORD’s Answer
5 “Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. 6 I am raising up the Babylonians,[a] that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwellings not their own. 7 They are a feared and dreaded people; they are a law to themselves and promote their own honor. 8 Their horses are swifter than leopards, fiercer than wolves at dusk. Their cavalry gallops headlong; their horsemen come from afar. They fly like an eagle swooping to devour; 9 they all come intent on violence. Their hordes[b] advance like a desert wind and gather prisoners like sand. 10 They mock kings and scoff at rulers. They laugh at all fortified cities; by building earthen ramps they capture them. 11 Then they sweep past like the wind and go on— guilty people, whose own strength is their god.”
When Habakkuk asked God for help. God sent in a worse fate.
That is How I feel tonight.
Paul F.

The Maryland Crustacean said...

Good to hear from you, Paul. Sursum corda.

Anonymous said...

Take heart that you feel like an exile in an alien country. You are in the world, but not of it. You have a better country whose builder and maker is God.
~Your daughter :-)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for so eloquently expressing how feel and the comfort as well. I do feel an alien, even among my friends. Some who are lifelong friends turned to the homosexual lifestyle. After expressing my opinions, I am called a hate monger, although I do not hate them at all, just expressing my opinion. Tolerance doesn't go both ways, does it? I am called to love, and I will, but I will disagree where God calls me to and not compromise the Gospel. That God would use me to be a light in these dark days among all people.