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...or "Why Considering History is Important"

They show up at my door, the newest edition of their publication in hand. As with every sect or person who's willing to discuss life, the universe, and everything, I welcome them in.

"Isn't it horrible," one of them offers, showing me the magazine heading about the current state of the world, "how things just keep getting worse?"

Worse? Really?

This is a pet peeve of mine and I do my best to keep my excitable nature in check. "I don't think the world's getting any worse. People are still people, in desperate need of Christ, but we're not more evil today than yesterday. I haven't heard about anyone's house getting surrounded by all the men of a city demanding to be let at recently arrived guests. Have you? And even if that were to happen, that's nothing new." (I've blogged about these troubling passages in Scripture before.)

The End Is Nigh

Judy touched on this topic yesterday as she discussed the hard things of life. Things appear more dangerous, more evil, more despicable than ever before! ...or, at the very least, than when we were kids. The tendency to look back and see something better than the present is common. Just one example: Turns out that "kids these days" have always been narcissistic, self-centered, immoral ingrates whose lives are being destroyed by modernity.

The sweet surrender Heather discusses in her recent blog post linked itself to this discussion. She describes the "crossroads of comfort and reality." We have this feeling that we can make things safe, secure, certain.

But we can't.

Lysa Terkeurst's post this morning beautifully echoes Heather's point: God is our refuge and fortress against fear.

The truth is that the world has always been a tenuous place, held together by nothing more than the will of God. And here, in Christ's will, is where we must live.

When we see the youth of today failing to live up to the standard of His perfection, I find it helpful to remember how God's grace and redemption has carried me this far ...and how much further it has to take me yet.

The constant of history is God's loving-kindness in luminous contrast to man's continued failures.

The more we learn of how He has worked in and through and with us, the more we can trust in Him and share the hope we have in Christ with the doomsayers. Our study of history provides us with a clearer understanding of not only the past, but also our future.

The end -- which has been nigh for more than 2,000 years -- looms closer, to be sure. But that's not where I want my gaze to fall. I want to keep my eyes on Christ, following where He leads, and see the people who need His love and hope through His eyes.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Pseudo-Dad

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  1. This, I think is a very important topic. One of the Sonlight books The Flames of Rome covers this topic very nicely. On the other hand, there is lots of really bad stuff happening to Christians in lots of places around the world; that it has not arrived in the USA yet does not mean is not on its way and it could be argued that the slaughter of innocents is happening here at a higher level than anytime in the history of humanity. Still, your last paragraph nails it pretty well. That is really the only response to anything that happens on this earth at any time and place.

    • I've heard that the larger "scope" is how to interpret John 14:12 as well. How can you do greater things than, say, raising the dead? So, yes, I have no trouble believing that there is more slaughter of innocents (the numbers boggle my mind). And, yes, persecution is still rampant. I certainly wouldn't argue that the world is getting better. We're still in need of grace and redemption. Yep.

      I never read "Flames of Rome." of the drawbacks to doing Sonlight while it was still being developed. I never did the high school Cores -- though I did read a several of the titles.


  2. I actually came back and read this article a couple of time and need to think about it some more. I suppose, in a very big sense, how bad the world is at any given time is not nearly as important as how we, as Christians respond to it and just as importantly, how we teach our kids to respond to it by dependence on God as you described so helpfully above.

    The "Flames of Rome" describes what life was like in Rome for the early church there. It was really, really bad. I think the only reason there was not more death and decadence there was because the technology was not as good and there were not as many people as there are now. I really think we were not worse or better than those people and not even very much different.

    The Flames of Rome is an adult book written by a very serious and important ANE scholar. Whoever picked it did Sonlight users a great service. It was a huge help for our daughter to have read it before she went to college. It described some of the stuff she faced. We talked about it a lot before she went and reference it still. It was a little to early for our son to have read it before he went to college because he was a little young, but the same discussion would have helped him, too.

    The idea we got out of it is that we can protect our kids to a certain extent while they are with us, but they are going into a world like the one described and they WILL be alone, without parental support sometime while they are out ther. The upshot is that their only recourse is to choose God and depend on him. It costs them their will and it might even send them to their grave, but it is worth it.

    You are really on a roll her Luke. Today's post on communicating values is a good one, too.

    • Thanks, Ken. Very good points here. I'll have to sit down and read "Flames" now. I've been doing more Ancient Near East Bible study of late and it has really helped me; it sounds like that book would be a great additional resource.

      By the by, I don't say this often enough: I appreciate you reading and interacting here on the blog. Thank you.


  3. Thanks Luke. I enjoy your blog and "Other Posts of Note" a lot. I am looking forward to hearing what you think of the Flames of Rome.