Do you remember that moment that you were at Disneyland (or any really enjoyable place that you love) and they announced it was time to close? You had had a pretty amazing day. Sure, there were some crowds to deal with and that kid on the roller coaster was annoying but, overall, it had been a wonderful break from reality. But the sun had set and the day was done. It was time to make your way to the gates.
You knew the end of the day was coming when the sun had started to sink in the west and the lights had, one by one, flickered to life. The signs were there. And, yet, when that final call came to make your way to the gates, it was disappointing. You were tired and you were a bit over-indulged, but leaving signified the end of a really lovely day that wouldn’t come around again for a long time–and maybe never, depending upon where you were for the day.
I feel a little like that right now.
I was having a conversation with someone and we were talking about Christians in America. They mentioned that living here as a Christian has been like living in Disneyland. And it isn’t real. And, I might add, it isn’t normal.
Think with me, if you will, of Christians both past and present, outside of America. Difficulties, persecutions, trials, and troubles mark their lives. Yes, we have these things in America but we generally aren’t worrying about if we will eat. And we most certainly aren’t worrying about whether we will be thrown in jail for our faith.
But we’ve seen signs of that coming, have we not? For a good ten years or more, we’ve seen the sun sinking in the west. It’s getting darker and darker and there are very few lights coming on to shine in all that blackness.
And, now, it seems that it is time to leave that America. The events of this past year have exponentially increased the likelihood of never returning to what we thought she was.
It saddens me greatly to say that it is increasingly looking like my kids and grandkids will not live in the America I lived in.
Maybe I shouldn’t be sad?
Maybe this is actually a good thing.
Nominal, worldly Christianity flourishes in a world full of materialism and tolerance. When it doesn’t cost to be a Christian everyone claims to be one, greatly muddying the waters of true faith. Opportunities are few to trust God for necessities or to put our faith into action as we boldly proclaim the truth.
All of this has weakened us considerably. Until we almost can’t tell the wheat from the tares anymore. Persecution and hard times would clear up that line that has become extremely fuzzy over the years. When being a Christian costs, we will quickly find out who is serious.
And this isn’t a bad thing, is it?
While we are bemoaning our exit from what has been the wonderful experience of living in this great country, perhaps we should instead turn our eyes to the opportunities we are going to be afforded to live for God in a whole new way.
Yes, I think we can be pretty sure by now that whatever is ahead is going to look very different than what we’ve experienced heretofore. And I know our flesh can quiver at the thought of this–especially as believers. But once we can get past the quivering, we have much to be excited about.
We are literally watching the world be set up for a Revelation 13 scenario. I would never make any predictions on how long that will take–could be a year or twenty or fifty– but it IS being set up for that. What an incredible confirmation of scripture! It’s awe-inspiring, is it not?
We could be raptured (there are no words to express how amazing it would be to be part of the generation that is raptured!) but we also need to realize that we may not be raptured. The really important thing to remember is that–no matter what lies ahead for this country or for us personally–God will provide.
I remember reading many accounts of believers that tell of God’s great provision in extremely dire times. I remember reading of martyrs who were singing while burning at the stake. If we are a redeemed child of God’s, He will give us the strength and grace needed for whatever lies ahead. We can count on that!
So, yes, I do believe we are leaving Disneyland. Reminders are everywhere. Empty churches. Quiet restaurants. Bankrupt stores. Going Out of Business sales. As we were driving around looking at Christmas lights last night, the lack of traffic and activity was a sad reminder that things are so…not normal.
But we will be fine. God is with us wherever we go. And that includes when we make our way out of the wonderful world we’ve lived in and into the world where most Christians live.
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
Please note: To my international readers, I am guessing that you are probably having some of these same questions and fears so I hope this has been an encouragement to you, as well!
And also please note: The 2021 Bible Reading Challenge is up! I will send a post about this sometime in the upcoming weeks, but if you wanted to take a sneak peek, you can find it here.