"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
The lawless events of 2020, the lawless events yesterday when our nation's Capitol was breached, the relentless war-from-within on America and our culture, and the exuberant complicity of a censorious and propagandizing media all paint a bleak picture, and many are rapidly losing hope.
Our worldview is overwhelmingly dominated by our own experience, and the truth is that in America, very, very few of us living today have ever known real hardship the likes of which mankind has historically endured, and as people in some parts of the world still endure.
Things could be much worse:
Israelites were enslaved in Egypt for 400 years
Africans were enslaved in the Americas for nearly 250 years
An estimated 40 million people live in slavery throughout the world today, including approximately a million Muslim Uighurs in concentration camps in Western China
Human and child sacrifice was practiced in many parts of ancient Mesopotamia and the Mesoamerican world of the Aztecs, Incans, and Mayans
The Black Death killed up to 200 million people in Eurasia and North Africa in the mid-14th century, wiping out up to a quarter of the population of the entire planet (eat your heart out, COVID)
Muslims and Christians slaughtered one another throughout Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East amid Muslim invasions of Europe and European Crusades into North Africa and the Middle East. People in many parts of the Muslim world are still slaughtering one another today
6 million Jews and 5 million others were persecuted by Nazi Germany, forced into concentration camps, and murdered
Communist revolutions led to the rise of two global communist super-powers, with numerous communist parasite-states, and the deaths of over 100 million people (topped only by the Black Death)
Jesus Christ was nailed up on a cross, stabbed, and left to die, and Christians were persecuted and murdered in the Roman Empire for 300 years
The reality is that most of human history is a recurring story of misery and death. Yet consistently, rays of hope have emerged from the darkest storms. Freedom for slaves, medicine for disease, governments such as the United States founded on the ideals of liberty and justice, acceptance of others, and Salvation for mankind.
We have had much, much darker days, and are likely to have darker days still, but hope remains. There is good in the world, and we must each do our parts to nurture it and live it ourselves. Truth, Freedom, Justice, and Mercy are values we must each seek and ourselves embody.
Even when it seems impossible; when the storm is overwhelming, do not lose heart. Though outwardly our society frays at the seams, or even crumbles, the misery of this world is a nothingth in eternity. We must look to the ray of sun peeking out from behind the storm cloud, and pledge daily not to force the world to be better, but for each of us to be better ourselves, and to set the example that while these troubles are momentary, we're yet giving our all to shine a light on the world.
-Hat tip to a friend for inspiring me to write this.