Many years ago, when I was serving with the United Nations Peacekeepers in Cyprus as part of the Canadian Armed Forces, towards the end of my tour I made myself a promise that I would never complain about drivers in Canada or the conditions of the roads again. Of course, once I returned to Canada, I don’t think it was two weeks before I encountered some potholes on the road and I complained. So much for my promise.
Our roads in Canada where much better than some of the roads I encountered in Cyprus and you have to remember that there had been a war in Cyprus between Turkey and Greece, so fixing road potholes wasn’t probably the top concern on their things to do list.
There were a number of lessons that I learned from that tour but one that never left my mind is how quickly we take for granted the things around us that have become part of our way of life. But all that can change very quickly. Israel and Judah went through that when they were conquered by the Assyrians and taken into exile. Judah was also taken into exile by the Babylonians. And then of course, we have the Jews that were in Europe during the Second World War and Hitler’s obsession with exterminating them,
Here in North America, neither Canada or the United States have ever been invaded or taken captive from our own countries, at least on a national scale. But just imagine if you will, that China or Russian won a war with the free world and our freedoms that we currently enjoy were gone. We don’t even have to consider being taken into exile, just imagine that China or Russia made all the decisions on how our needs were taken care of. Imagine that it was their leaders who made all the decisions, what was allowed and what is not allowed.
- Imagine freedom of speech in all forms going out the window. Imagine not being able to voice your concerns about governing policies or leadership. Imagine being throw in prison or worse if you did,
- Imagine freedom of religion going out the window. Imagine not being able to meet with others of like faith, imagine if religion was outlawed and imprisonment or death waited for any that crossed that line.
- Imagine that justice through laws and the justice system went out the window. Imagine your rights being pushed to the wayside, non-existent, without recourse.
- Imagine that prisons were totally controlled by the conqueror, no limits on what they could and couldn’t do.
- Imagine that the conquerer decided what work you would do, where you would work, when you would do it and how long you would do it. They picked your work, your supervisor and your conditions. No recourse except death.
- Imagine that all media was totally controlled by the conqueror. No options, no criticism allowed.
- Imagine that all food supplies were controlled by the conqueror, choices limited, quantities limited, no recourse.
- Imagine that the conqueror determined where you lived, who you lived with and all aspects of your accommodation, no recourse.
- Imagine that all medical attention and medications where controlled by the conqueror, no recourse, no options except death.
- Imagine all education facilities at all levels controlled by the conqueror, indoctrination mandatory, no exceptions, no recourse.
- Imagine that personal vehicles were outlawed, fuel restricted to governing authorities.
- Imagine that freedom of movement went out the window, the conqueror determined where you would be located, no recourse.
- Imagine no input allowed on any governing policies, no opposition allowed in any form.
I’m sure I missed some but you get the picture. Basically slaves within our own country. Not a pretty picture. But we currently have all these rights, sure, they are not perfect but we do have recourses. I remember during the Cuban Missile Crisis, there were bumper stickers that stated “Better Dead Than Red”. Really ….. but I’ve learned from history, I’ve seen what common people will do in order to survive, even to their own people. That’s not a pretty picture either.
They say that what we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history.
We take for granted freedoms that others fought and died for, most times without even thinking about it. Perspectives are conditioned by reality and reality can change at the drop of a hat. Study the demise of the Roman Empire if you want to see what surrounds us today.
Democracy isn’t perfect because humanity isn’t perfect. No political system is perfect because all political systems are governed by humans. But, as political systems go, democracy far surpasses the other options. As Christians, the Kingdom that we belong to is not of this world, God’s will being done on this earth is not going to come about by human political endeavours, because a good portion of humanity is not concerned about God’s perspective of justice, mercy and truth.
Jesus told us that what we are seeing would happen, but He also told us not to despair because He had conquered the world.
We are supposed to be the light of the world. We are supposed to be loving one another, not fighting with one another. We do have love and we do have light but not nearly enough. And the candle that we hold up to the world can be blown out very quickly, both from without and also from within. Time is short, focus on what we do have, not on what we don’t. Use the limited time we have to reach as many as possible.
I can’t help but being mindful of God’s Word to us about the battle that we are in. In Ephesians 6:12 NIV Paul says “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Excuse my language but the focus of far too many Christians is ass backwards.
The potholes really don’t matter in the big scheme of things. We have bigger fish to fry.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!