The Decade From Hell

December 7, 2009 Cover

Y2K. Botched Presidential Election. 9/11. War in Afghanistan & Iraq. Corporation Bankruptcy. Mad-cow & SARS. Tsunami killing 200,000 in Southeast Asia. Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Radical Islamic Bombings. Bird Flu. Gas Prices Skyrocket. Steroids in Sports. Virginia Tech Shootings. Moral Failures by Politicians, Preachers, Celebrities, & Sports Figures. Stocks Plummet. Car Industry Fails. Ponzi Scheme. H1N1. Unemployment.

A daunting list by any standard, but only the “lowlights” of an otherwise forgettable decade. What are we going to call this one? “The Decade of Doom”? Whatever we call it, one can hardly argue that it was a decade full of heartache, shattered dreams, and uncertainty.  I’m usually a glass half-full type of guy, but even I can appreciate a good buzz kill when it’s due. And if anything, this decade was a huge wake-up call. We can conjecture all we want about how and why we got here and how we’re going to pull ourselves out of this hole, but it’s pointless. Andy Serwer, the author of the The Decade from Hell in the issue of Time Magazine showed above, says, “So here’s the big question: Why? Why did so much bad stuff happen in this decade? Was it just rotten luck or something more? Sure, some of it was simply randomness, but I think a strong case can be made that it was more than just chance that got things so bollixed up.”

You’re right and you’re wrong, Andy. I’ll tell you this for sure. It wasn’t just randomness. Evil? Maybe. But random? Definitely, not. There’s much more too it. It’s the age-old story really: God creates man. God loves man. Man loves himself. Man chases after other gods. Man chases after false idols with false hopes. Man is left wanting. Man dies never finding true contentment.

And more than previous years, it was in this last decade that our Nation’s idols were tested. If America stands for anything we stand for the American Dream: Health, Wealth, & Happiness. But all three were found wanting this decade. Our health was tried by the frenzy of flu. Our wealth was waned by the spiraling stock market. And our happiness was interrupted by terror and tragedy. America’s idols proved to be lackluster. Yet, America seemed to find more and more hope in their false idols. They chased after their counterfeit gods all the more when they were stripped away. They held even tighter to their empty dreams.

So here’s the deal folks, we’re in Redemptive History. God promised deliverance for His people. Jesus came once and He will surely come again. Even the creation groans and eagerly awaits His coming. Meanwhile, we’re going to see the ugly head of sin rear itself over and over and over and over and over again. We’re going to witness the rise and fall of false idols. This decade was just a preview of things to come. But good news…there’s hope.

However gloomy the first ten years of the 21st century may have seemed, there was room enough for celebration. Not only did the Red Sox win a World Series, but the Nation voted in the first Black President. But what I find most encouraging is what seems to be an undercurrent toward orthodoxy in Jesus’ Church. Old and young are being beckoned back to the Cross. The Church is realizing its deep need for the Gospel. The Body of Christ is showing signs of unity and reconciliation. But even that shouldn’t complete our hope.

Our hope lies in the truth that God is the same God yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Jesus is alive. And the Spirit lives in us. That’s why we have hope. A hope that tomorrow we’ll live by Grace through Faith. A hope that tomorrow God will be good to His people. And a hope that Jesus will be back…real soon.

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