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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Great Depression

I almost religiously do NOT watch the news! For one thing, the way the media 'doctors' it, one can be pretty sure that we're hearing & seeing what 'they' want us to hear & see: related to that, what they DO  allow us to 'see' is so depressing that it's no surprise that our populace is in the shape it is: in fact, the surprise is that it's not worse!

For so long, we have been embroiled in wars on foreign soil & had our fingers in so many pies, nationally & metaphorically speaking, that it really should be no surprise, all the crap that's going on around the world, even in our own country! What news we DO get is no doubt 'doctored' or 'spun', to whatever extent, but we can only assume that there is some truth to it. The world is a dangerous place; one never knows what may happen when they step out there front door, but there is also a measure of excitement to be had; what might happen if we leave the safety & comfort of our own house can be somewhat frightening, but it also holds the potential for great joy!

Depression is real; focusing on what is wrong in this world is pretty easy, also very natural & too often we get so focused on what is wrong though, that we neglect the joy that is NOW! Yes, there is much to be afraid of, to worry about, not only in the world that we live in, but in our own country. When we look at all that is going on in the world today, the temptation is to get so caught up in that & forget that we so blessed to be living where & when we are. At this time & place, the world is actually, according to history, better off than it has been in the past! Thanks in part to Science & Technology, we know more about the world we live in, we are able to more comfortably live in our world ( not necessarily a good thing ), doctors are better equipped to handle diseases that 50-100 years ago, would have very likely ended in death & the Truth of the Gospel is more readily broadcast.

It is a great temptation among many, in particular, evangelical Christians, to read/watch the evening news & believe they are seeing the book of Revelation unfolding before their eyes!` The book of Revelation, as we have explored previously in these pages, was a fulfillment of the plethora of Hebrew prophets that foretold the coming adverse judgment of Jerusalem & the Temple; this happened in AD70 when it was destroyed by the Roman armies under the leadership of Almighty God. As the case may be, though, when most Christians witness all the death & destruction going on around the world, because of their mistaken theology & misplaced hope, they end up brooding over matters about which they shouldn't & worrying about things they should be rejoicing in!

The world is a dangerous place, there is no doubt, but there is beauty in the danger; what we often shun or are otherwise afraid of, usually holds the most beauty, if only we would let the scales from our eyes & see! The music group, 'The Eagles' once sang a song about 'Dirty Laundry', reminding us that 'bad news sells'; this is abundantly true & Americans today, many of them, are no better than the Roman spectators at the Coliseum who watched in glee as Christians were mauled by lions, or cheered on the winning gladiator as he mutilated his opponent. Boxing today is not too far removed, sometimes, from the early gladiator bouts & how often do many Americans enjoy a good race when there is a spectacular wreck? Though not all are so hell-bent on feeding their lust that they get a thrill out of death & destruction, too many seek this mindless entertainment rather than finding joy in the mundane everyday!

When depression sets in, knocking at the door of our mind & heart like an old, familiar enemy, the natural & easy thing to do is to open that door, welcoming in the specter that haunts our memories: yes, things look bad, not only around the world, but in our own country! However, the God we serve is the One who is over all; this is our Father's world & we are His. If/when these biological bodies perish, for they will, sooner or later, it will be only when our work on earth is done; it's not the end of the world, only of our biological existence. It has been said, 'hope for the best, prepare for the worst': good advice maybe, but too often, when preparing for the worst, we come to expect the worst & so our old enemy latches ahold of us & begins to sink its teeth in till we are nothing but a quivering blob of jelly; either that, or we start to take on its characteristics ourselves!

Joy often comes in the disguise of something that would scare the hell out of the average Joe or Jolene! What we must realize & hold onto is that we are better than average; we are the blessed children of our Heavenly Father, the King of the World, He lives in & through us, making us mini-creators. Very often, though, we forget this glorious fact & so end up creating our own depression. May we remember who we are & thus create a world in which we can live with Peace & Joy!

Charles Haddon Shank

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