I recently started a book written and updated in the early 1980’s by a man born in the late 1880’s. Imagine what this man saw in his lifetime: the gay 90’s during his youth, the last of the American Indian wars as a teenager, the “war to end all wars” (in theory), Spanish Influenza, the roaring 20’s followed by the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, Korean War, Vietnam War, Watergate, and finally the recession and rapid inflation of the 70’s. In the preface of his book, he wrote that man was happier working manually in the fields than he was with all the technological advances because the evils grew larger. Had he lived another 30 years, do you think his view would have changed?
With all the comforts modernity has brought us, is the world an easier or harder place?
Moores’ Law says that processing speeds double every two years, and it has led us to an age of digital disruption where old paradigms are being replaced by new models faster than society can adjust. The computing power in my cell phone is thousands of times more powerful than my 1990’s PC, which was a thousand times more powerful than the tactical data system on my ship as a young naval officer. I have so much information at my fingertips!
Through various websites and streaming videos, I have easily learned to do so many things: repair my dryer, lay new flooring and remodel a bathroom. The advances in information technology have crossed over into every area of life: medicine, business, education, etc. We are constantly on the move, constantly trying to keep up with a rapidly changing world, moving both mentally and physically. For a couple years, I traveled weekly across the nation for work, and causes me to wonder: how does this compare to Daniel 12:4, where God said to His bewildered prophet:
But you, Daniel, keep these words secret, and seal the book until the end times. Many will travel everywhere, and knowledge will grow.
Knowledge has certainly grown, but so has foolishness. How much does Romans 1:18-32 apply to our current world, a promise of God’s wrath to a global community that shakes it’s fist in lawless rebellion. This coming wrath could be years from now or still decades away, but it is coming as surely as all the prophecies in Scripture unfold before our eyes. As I’ve said before, the Bible’s prophecies are one of the biggest reasons for its credibility.
All that we’re seeing was foretold in Scripture as a testimony that the God of the Bible is truly an all-knowing, all-powerful and fully-good God, Who even now implores us to stop rebelling against Him. “Peace! Good will toward men!” was proclaimed by God’s messengers as He sent His son. (Luke 2:14), but man continues to rebel against God’s ways, choosing to do what is right in his own eyes. This infectious thought pattern is growing in the Church, and just as Jesus’ parable of the vineyard owner in Matthew 21:33-46 predicted the diaspora and beginning of the Church age, Paul’s explanation of the olive branches in Romans 11:11-31 predict the renewal of Israel and warn of the coming wrath upon a rebellious church.
In all the obstacles we see, be sure of this: nothing happens that God didn’t’ predict and isn’t allowing to happen. In our petty short-sightedness believing that this world is all there is and afflictions increase, we may wonder where God is. How tempting to give into the comforts offered by this world, thinking that it is our home or surrender to the oppression. But for those who belong to the Kingdom, remember that we are just travelers in this world, ambassadors of God’s goodness and grace (2 Corinthians 5:16-20). Every affliction or privation is simply an annoying gnat and every temptation is only bait used by the enemy to distract us from our holy purpose, our calling. The enemy has no true power, and illusion is that he is winning. Stand firm and remember who you are and why you are here: you are light for others to see!
In the end, every obstacle will be revealed as proof of God’s reality as we see each insurmountable barrier collapse; we take steps in faith to a God Who challenges us in the darkest moments with the words: “Do you trust Me?” As Blackaby points out, God takes us to crisis of belief to prove His faithfulness. The Darkness threatens to cover the light, but still the Light shines through, and the trust built through overcoming each obstacle gives us confidence in that which is unseen, an approaching Kingdom that will come in power just as the new Babel is completed. The lawless ones will rejoice in what they believe to be their ultimate triumph, but it is actually the signal of their defeat, all of it foretold thousands of years ago in Scripture.
Obstacles remind us to trust God and pray about next steps.
copyright ©2020 Mitchell Malloy (http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com/)