March 25, 2019

Weekly Reflection – Will it Always Be This Way?

Weekly Reflection – Will it Always Be This Way?

We in the West have now been blessed with relative peace and prosperity ever since the end of World War II. For the past week, I have been pondering the question, “Will it always be this way?”

From a macro perspective, my family has lived under difficulties for most of the past several generations. During the late 19th century, my great grandfather experienced the occupation of Southern Denmark by German armies. Then about a hundred years ago, my grandfather survived being conscripted into the next German army during World War I (most of the men in his community were killed at Flanders.) That was followed by the great depression on both sides of the Atlantic before my father found himself in the American Army Air Corps flying bombing missions over Japan. Each of these stages had its economic and social difficulties, both for our family and for the peoples and nations who were perhaps more directly affected.

Following World War II, there has been this significant period of prosperity that my generation and that of my children have enjoyed. I wonder if it will always be this way. At some point in the future, will my grandchildren look back and realize that we were living in “Dreamland,” unaware of the turmoil that was to overtake us eventually?

Today we are exposed to several global risks, any one of which could cause chaos the likes of which we have not seen in 75 years. There is the nuclear expansion, the globalization of the food chain, dependence upon the Internet and similar systems, and potential political upheavals. Should any of these “go south,” we could find ourselves unable to access our wealth, unable to find food or fuel, without medicines, etc.  What would life be like then? Many of you, our friends in developing countries, could give me a good idea.

Jane Kenyon provides some perspective on this in her poem, “Otherwise”.

I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been otherwise.
I ate cereal, sweet milk, ripe, a flawless peach.
It might have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill to the birch wood.
All morning I did the work I love.
At noon I lay down with my mate. 
It might have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver candlesticks.
It might have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed in a room with paintings on the walls,
and planned another day just like this day.
But one day, I know, it will be otherwise.”

How is a Christian to relate to this?  Many other cultures have experienced these times of total disruption and persecution.  Think of the Rome when the Barbarians overran their country.  Or the turmoil of religious wars in Europe.  Or the times Christians in Japan and elsewhere were persecuted.  While not Christian, the Jews (perhaps more than any other people) have a unique perspective on persecution and indeed, holocaust.  Would their faith buoy the Christians of that potentially coming time (perhaps our children)?  Or will they find themselves simple weaklings and unable to stand up under stress?  May God grant us all a “stainless steel backbone” with which to face whatever the future holds, that time in the near or far when it will be otherwise.

And may God continue to bless us, protect us from all evil, and bring us to eternal life with Him.

Chaplain Allen

For more, Where is God in All of This?