Nearly 43 years ago, we said, “I do”
And ever since that faithful day, we have been in our walk together. We struggle through all the portions of life that everyone faces, but we have always felt the other one was right there with us. Notched and linked at the hip. Together.
The times we live in seem to be fraying at the edges. Not between my bride and me. No, we are stronger because we have this lengthy bond. We have grown stronger with each battle, trial, tribulation and heavy load.
No. The fraying comes from living within an environment where you do not feel joined with someone on the other side of the fence. In the framework of our nation we have always known there would be sides, and we would have to choose between them, but it was the hope that once the side was selected then everyone would join forces and march in step together to achieve a common good. For each. For all. For ongoing prosperity.
But times have shown us that even with choices made there is still a huge disconnect between the various factions. We do not now, and maybe even never, live in a time when we feel we are on this trip together.
Put a common enemy in front of us, or some other national challenge, and we rally together like no other nation and focus to win. Most of the time. Many of those big battle focus times were in the past, before my time, but our history is full of the image of how we come out swinging when the times demand it.
Today, it seems like we are struggling with descent into camps of thought that cry out for autonomy. Control. Rebellious cries that say, “My way, or get out.” Petulant, pesky, protesters that do not want to stand for their view more than they want to force their view. This may be part and parcel of politics since the dawn of time, but we live in an age of instant access and you can immediately witness the ludicrous actions, hear reviling chants, and watch the decent into anarchy.
Our nation has been through many such times.
In the mid 1800’s, one such event divided the North from the South. We were headed down a pathway that was wrong, but through wise leadership, and even a great internal conflict, we stepped out of our past and began forging news paths. Though not an instant success, over time this unity has brought us closer to the level of agreement that “…all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Even if it’s taken an extra 150+ years to realize these truths. Our laws are in a constant state of change to keep headed in the right direction, even reality shows we are not there yet.
Quickly, tell me…. Where did that quote come from? When did you first read it? Do you believe it today as much as we think they must have believed it back then? Do you find it in Plutarch? Blackstone Law Dictionary? The Bible? Was it in the Declaration of Independence? Or the Constitution? If you must look it up, then join the club.
We have lost our ability to stand together on those aged documents that define who we are as an independent nation. With acrimony, we belittle the opposite side for their views, and then receive the complaint that we are not caring about everybody equally, but then all sides cry out that the other side has no right to force their views on anyone.
A snapshot of any time in history will show we fight through these arguments. Time and again we struggle, hoping to reach a promised time of peace and tranquility. But life keeps changing the rules. Not just in areas we are prone to accept, but also in those areas that force us to choose how we will live. It’s not that I want to live in the past, but there are things of my foundation that are my bedrock.
“What one generation a tolerates,
the next generation embraces.”
(John Wesley, 1703-1791)
We slowly accept things as perceived fact, then make them law, and eventually attempt to force everyone to abide by the law. Your personal convictions, based upon whatever foundation you have, is no longer acceptable. Your religious right is no longer tolerated. Every attempt will be made to marginalize who you are by the changes of this modern society.
This draws boundaries. Sets a people at odds with each other. And assures we will reject each other for years to come. Jesus warned of this nearly 2,000 years ago:
“Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. (Matthew 10:21-22 NKJV)
Closer and closer to these times we are approaching, and if history is any indicator it will be hugely divisive. The nation, culture, and family will be divided into smaller and smaller subsets. We will not get to a place of tranquility, rather, we will sink deeper and deeper into a non-Hollywood version of a vast wasteland. Fractions and factions. Fighting continually until the survivor stands alone and declares victory.
I want to be like that next to last verse of the bible. Right before the closing statement, when John the Revalator agrees that the exit time is here.
He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20 NKJV)