Cynicism is really hip right now.
‘omg, 2018 is the worst year in history’ – says the vapid tweeter
‘these millenials are ruining our culture’ – says the late middle aged middle manager
‘he’s the worst president ever.’ – says both sides about one of the last two guys.
In case you’re tempted to think our cynicism is somehow new or remarkable, here’s a cynic from 2500 years ago
Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity!
Our feeling that we are locked in a sinking ship with no way out is nothing new. We just come up with new ways to try and appease this nagging sense that things aren’t right.
One popular way is through the use of technology. We think we’ll be able to code our way to a better future. But there is a distinct sense as the technological age matures that endless information actually brings more sadness than joy, and in fact the thing we thought would make the world better is actually making the world worse.
So we put our trust in seeming noble causes. Perhaps that will be the thing to solve our issues
So I turned to consider wisdom and madness and folly. For what can the man do who comes after the king? Only what has already been done.
Politics, organizations, business are all broken. No matter how sophisticated we seem to get, people do what people do — which is to build something that will eventually be torn down.
I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, and who know whether he will be wise or a fool?
Striving after money or career success has always been an unsatisfying endeavor. No matter how successful you get, you will have to step down and someone else will take your place.
Ecclesiastes 3:16, 4:1
Moreover, I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, even there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness.
Again I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of the oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them!
Injustice abounds still. After a brief look at the world today and 2500 yrs ago, we see that things are broken. In our day, politics is broken. Racial reconciliation is moving backward. The middle class is evaporating. Family values are disappearing. Famous pastors disappoint us. Longstanding institutions capitulate to culture. Children aren’t always protected as they should be. And we all panic.
And so we start to slouch emotionally. The past was better. The slog of life is brutal.
But scripture doesn’t end with this viewpoint. The days of the OT prophets were certainly worse than right now, yet Isaiah in chapter 43 promises that the same God who made the Red Sea dry land and destroyed Israel’s enemies wants us to forget the great works of the past, SO THAT we can see the new works of the immediate future.
‘Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth…”
No matter how bad the world gets, God is always doing a new thing in response. It’s present — He’s doing it NOW. It’s new — it’s not like before. Like Aslan says to Lucy who is wondering how he’s gong to save them this time, “Nothing ever happens the same way twice, child.”
So we should walk with a swagger, not from self-belief or self-discovery but from belief in this discovery: he’s still moving. He’s still good.
It’s not God as a genie, it’s a simple belief that He’s not done.
do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert
And God’s new thing is perceptible! This truth doesn’t always change circumstance, but it changes outlook, our perception.
The simple expectation for a better tomorrow when grounded in God’s promises make faith bright and future bold.
Make a list of 5 problems in your life right now.
Then write down what might happen in each if God is truly still working and still good, wanting to make all things new.
Today I believe You are still good.
Because You are still good I believe You are still working.
Because You are still good I believe the future is bright.