Courage, Dear Hearts
There are some positive consequences of the rise of secularism in our culture, but one of the biggest drawbacks is the effect that it has had on our communal courage.
If humans are only a bunch of organic cells, if there is no soul inside us, no afterlife before us, if we do not walk among eternal beings who will be conscious (in some form) forever and ever, then it becomes difficult to live with abandon in this passing flutter of awareness that is for a moment ours and then dissolved into nothing at all.
If humans are only advanced animals, running on instincts, drives, and reason, these 673 million breaths that we will take before we pass back into matter become terribly important.
Physical threats, relational threats, threats of all kinds become central, because to ruin this life is to ruin all life.
Suffering through trials becomes a mortal threat, because to wade through pain is to waste the only pleasure we may ever experience.
Enduring a difficult season in marriage or the abuse of a coworker becomes impossible. We have to find some way to make the hurt stop now, so that we can move on and get relief.
And when threats come upon our nation or our coterie, we meet them with anger and fear. We become reactive instead of strategic, because the danger is comprehensive.
That good and evil exist is embedded in natural law as deeply as the second law of thermodynamics. That hostility will threaten innocence and peace comes as surely as day after night.
And so I grieve, not that wickedness exists in our world, but that we have lost the spine to face it. Believers whisper, "Come, Lord Jesus," after a tragedy. But lo, He has come already. And He lives in many of us already. And He is not afraid.
He will come again, but until then, Christians must learn to accept the dangers of our world on a trajectory.
In the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.
They will live lives of cowardice. Lives of beasts who have forgotten that they were created to be gods.
Friends, we are living inside of a tiny dot on a long line. To see this in truth is to live a courageous life, freed of greed, freed of whimpering like dogs, or snarling like wounded bears, or slinking like beaten apes through a forest floor.
Laugh instead. Laugh like those who are waiting for a divine punch line to be told.
Charge into battle as if death were impossible, for it is impossible.
Spend yourselves recklessly, generously, joyfully, for all shall be well. And all shall be well. And all manner of things shall be well.