It is easy to look at the world as it is today, become disgusted, and think back to the way things used to be, and dwell on those memories. However, I believe the Lord would rather have us looking forward with great expectations and I believe our expectations will come short of the wonderful blessings he has planned for us. “Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools. Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.” Ecclesiastes 7:9-10. We are not to dwell on anger or depression when we consider the condition of the world and our people. God is still in control and is still guiding the world toward its destiny. The final result will be the destruction of everything evil and the establishment of everything good.
During the lockdowns for the pandemic my wife and I bought several video discs of old television programs from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. As we watched them I looked back with longing at a time when there was no social distancing, no masks, no lockdowns, and no mass vaccination of hundreds of millions of people. The stress caused by the incessant fear and isolation by the lockdowns has resulted in anger and frustration for many. There is anger in political parties, anger in churches and mosques, anger in schools and universities, anger in marriages, anger between ethnic groups, and between children and parents. Many older people want a return to the way things were. Many younger people just want something new to replace the mess we are in today. Only Christians realize the truth: that the only permanent way out of this chaos is by the whole world yielding to one person, Jesus Christ.
There is no need to live in the past. Our inheritance is in the future with Jesus Christ. “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Luke 21:28. Christians are not supposed to be negative pessimistic people. We are to be filled with faith, not fear. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. (Galatians 5:22-23). Anger, conflict, depression, despair, and constant fear should not be part of the Christian character.
Christians who want to go back to the way things were are like the Israelites who were in despair at the edge of the Red Sea. They wanted to go back to Egypt. Moses prayed for deliverance, but God said, “Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.” Exodus 14:15-16. God wanted them to go forward to the Promised Land. It must have been terrifying walking through the Red Sea, but they had to go forward. God would not allow them to go back.
In the great work of fiction called The Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan, the main character named Christian made this declaration to two men named Timorous and Mistrust: “You make me afraid; but whither shall I fly to be safe? If I go back to my own country, that is prepared for fire and brimstone, and I shall certainly perish there: I must venture. To go back is nothing but death; to go forward is fear of death, and life everlasting beyond it. I will yet go forward.” I believe we can apply this lesson from John Bunyan’s story to what we are facing today.
The pandemic has people in fear and many are trusting the vaccines to take us back to the way things were. I believe the vaccine experiment is a manmade solution and will not end well. We do not know the long term effects of the vaccines. Despite that, we must go forward. We have more trouble ahead of us because we are in the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7), but after that we can look forward to the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of his kingdom throughout the earth. Stay close to the Lord. He will see us through whatever is coming and will draw those of us who are left up to meet him in the clouds at his return.