Two facts about our times stand in stark contrast. The first is just how well things are going. With dangers growing on every side, the world seems to be doing amazingly well. There are some rough spots, but generally people are rising out of poverty, living longer, and living more comfortably.
In the United States, life expectancy has dropped slightly over the last few years, but is holding relatively steady. The economy continues to grow, wages continue to rise, and more people are working than ever. We are the beneficiaries of astounding technological advances that impact every area of our lives.
The obvious conclusion is that things are great. People should be happier than ever. But they’re not.
I just said that life expectancy in the US has dipped slightly in recent years. Stop and think about that. We spend almost 18% of the nation’s gross domestic product on health care. Every year, scientists make tremendous advances in medicine and medical technology. Yet life expectancy has been falling since 2015.
How is that possible? The answer is that, in the midst of these “good times,” people are stressed and miserable.
The folks at the Centers for Disease Control don’t say it like that. They blame the drop in life expectancy primarily on three things – suicide, drug overdoses, and liver disease due primarily to growing levels of alcoholism. Think about those three things. Each one is a symptom of hopelessness.
You see the contradiction. Things are going well. So why do so many people feel stressed, hopeless, and miserable?
There are many answers to this question. But it can be summarized by something Jesus said. In Matthew 7:24-25, He said, “Everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock.”
For a long time, most Americans including those who did not consider themselves Christians, held God’s word in high esteem. However imperfectly, they tried to live by things like the Golden Rule. In court, they swore to tell the truth with a hand on the Bible. But today, influential Americans primarily in the media and academics hold the Bible up to ridicule.
To them, it’s good for a laugh. And that brings us to the rest of the Lord’s statement. In verses 26 and 27, He said, “And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not act upon them, will be like a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and it fell, and great was its fall.”
No wonder people are miserable. They feel the early trembling of an imminent fall. They have cut themselves off from the Source of life, joy, and fulfillment.
Terrible as the situation is, it has created an amazing opportunity for followers of Jesus. In John 12:36, Jesus called His followers “the children of light.” In every way we can – using television, the internet, and every part of our everyday lives – we must let the light of Jesus shine out into a dark and forbidding world. And we must do so with urgency.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: I hope you can join me every Sunday evening at 11PM EST on Daystar, or online anytime at www.hallindsey.com or www.hischannel.com for my line by line examination of Revelation. If you missed any episodes in this study, you can catch up by visiting www.hallindsey.com/videos/.