This Train Won't End Well
Imagine this. We're stuck at a railroad crossing for ... well, it seems like a lifetime. We've shifted our car into Park, turned off the engine, and now we mindlessly stare through the windshield ... bewitched by the metal, graffiti-laden boxcars lumbering by. We stopped counting these freight-cars, long ago.
We've been "trained," as we wait and wait for it to end. But I fear this train won't end well.
Bob Dylan once mused, it's been "a slow train coming." For both our nation and the American Church, I wonder what's at the end of this train? What happens when the caboose comes 'round the bend? I wish I were more optimistic ... that the flashing red lights would stop, the crossbar rise, and we could resume on our way. Instead, I fear the end of this train could be the end of our easy journey.
Boxcars of Shame?
Barring a miracle of mass contrition, America's future is a train wreck. Our national shame has heaped up a trainload of trouble, which we can no longer avoid. What do I mean? All the countless boxcars that swagger past our eyes ... well, it turns out they're more like box-caskets, filled with the bones of dead men who suppress the shame of our national sin.
Consider these Boxcars as they pass by:
- To our shame, Marriage is no longer considered an institution binding one man and one woman together for life, uniquely sanctioned for the raising of children. And yet, Jesus says marriage is exactly that (Mark 10:6-8).
- To our shame, Divorce is commonplace, even among those who claim Jesus as their Lord (yes, there are two legitimate scenarios for divorce in the NT, but these are rare exceptions to God's rule).
- To our shame, Fathers are AWOL. Far too many children (72% of black children) are born to unmarried couples, often (not always) leading to no Father in the home.
- To our shame, Gay marriage is celebrated – two biologically alike individuals contract together under an illegitimate notion of marriage, then adopt children they could never conceive on their own.
- To our shame, Gender is considered malleable, promoted by the delusion that subjective feelings are truer than objective facts like biology, God's words (Genesis 1:27), and natural law.
- To our shame, the 'Reproductive Rights' coalition refuses to consider the possibility that a growing embryo is a human life, when at the very least, everyone should error on the side of life and caution, not comfort or convenience.
- To our shame, the Daily News reports Gunmen shooting up elementary schools, Drag Queens doing story hour with little children, Will Smith slapping Chris Rock, "Bennifer" divorcing yet another spouse to remarry (nevermind the kids), Politicians dropping F-bombs (including our current President), etc. – endless examples that comprise our never-ending train of American shame.
The Deadening of Conscience
Ignoring these boxcars, one after the other, has calcified our National Psyche. We are numb to it all. Nothing shocks anymore. We've become the Book of Judges: "Everyone did what was right in his own eyes" (Judges 17:6, 21:25). We've become the city of Sodom: every TV show platforms gay legitimacy. And we laugh when we should weep.
Our national (and personal) conscience no longer activates when we encounter ungodliness/unholiness. Though vital to human flourishing, our national conscience is now seared. Like the frog in the kettle – as the water of ungodliness slowly heats up, we're unaware that we'll soon boil to death. Relaxed and at ease, we fall asleep in the steam.
We must awake, or die. Admittedly, I am pessimistic that America will turn to the Lord and avert the train wreck ahead. However, I'm reminded of Jonathan Edwards' encouragement:
"I am convinced of two things in this life. First, that everyone should give themselves completely to Jesus Christ. And second, even if no one else does, I will."
Even if no one else does, I will. Perhaps we can't change the world, or our nation, or even our town. But surely we can do one thing: we can change ourselves, by giving ourselves completely to Jesus Christ. I think it was Leo Tolstoy who said, "Everyone wants to change the world, but no one seems to want to change himself."
Land of the Free and Home of the Brave?
Let me end with a challenge. Will America still be known in our grandchildren's generation as "the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave?" Or will it be more like, "the Land of Debris and the Home of Depraved?" The answer to that question begins with me and you.
This train's caboose may be right around the bend. Let's pray we're not too late.
Questions to ponder:
- Is God's Word your daily feast, for true truth and perspective?
- Is holiness something you yearn for? If not, why not?
- Are you willing to join J. Edwards' small fraternity of those given completely to Jesus Christ?
- When is the last time you remember someone of noble character call the citizens of your area to repent and pray for God to restore their community?
[See what I did there? A train...]