I watched the GOP presidential debate last week with hope. After the debate, I realized my hope for our country isn’t based on any certainties. America will always be one election away from better times, worse times, troubling times, or times of peace and satisfaction.
The older I get, the more I realize that my trust isn’t in my government, it is in my Lord. I will always vote my conscience, and I will always try to vote for the person I think is most able to handle the job. I won’t treat the presidential election like a beauty pageant, voting for the person I think “looks” the best. The most important part of a beauty pageant should be the questions asked and answered, not the dance in the evening gowns that starts the show.
I will watch all the debates and vote for the person I think has the best answers. But, I live in a country where the majority of people might vote for the person who was funny on a late-night talk show, or who had the best commercials on TV or social media, or who looks like the most popular person at the moment. We shouldn’t jump on a bandwagon until we know where the wagon intends to go.
How do we have faith for the future if faithful people aren’t deciding the future?
Stick with me on this one and read this blog post all the way to the end.
A Forbes magazine article
I ran across an article in Forbes written in May of 2022. The title caught my eye because it was about key predictions for 2050 (Note: You may need a Forbes subscription to read it.) It was about an interview with a man named Jacques Attali who has written over eighty books and has been involved in several financial and technology companies. He is also seen as someone whose predictions for the future are invaluable to those in business.
To sum it up, Attali was asked to predict what he saw coming for the United States and the world in the coming decades.
It wasn’t encouraging.
Attali predicted the continued decline in America and doubted that the US would remain the world’s dominant superpower. He then said that the decline of this country would be similar to the decline of the Roman Empire. When Rome fell, no “successor” was ready to step in and take its place. He noted that no other nation is able to step into America’s leadership roles.
Attali also noted that when Rome fell the “Dark Ages” followed because there was a “deceleration of human progress, declining living standards, and a bleak period in the development of art, literature, and culture.”
Christians should note that the Dark Ages was also the period of time many in the Catholic church called the “Golden Ages.” The church became the leader in education and the preservation of cultural values. Some historians call this the “Age of Faith.” The Protestant Reformation followed in the sixteenth century.
The thing to remember
I have to admit, I was getting pretty low as I read this article. Attali’s words made perfect sense based on the realities seen in the evening news. Then, I read these statements in the article that gave me pause.
The article said, “It’s no longer inconceivable that we might one day transcend our mortality by overcoming the effects of aging or replacing parts of our bodies with artificial or mechanical components. But if we are heading towards an eternal life (or at least, greatly increased longevity) where we will live as mindless consumers or slaves to a corporate hierarchy, is there any point?”
That is the moment in the article when “man’s truth” denied the truth of God’s word. Man will never be immortal or eternal here on earth. The consequences of the first sin took care of that. We should never read an article like this one in Forbes apart from the light of Scripture. Attali is a brilliant man with a lot of knowledge. His predictions have validity based on the realities in our world.
Christians need to remember this: God is still on his throne. His word is proven truth. Our Creator is always king of his creation.
More things to remember
Most, if not all of my readers are students of God’s word and people of faith. We know what the Bible says God can do, and we know what the Bible says God will do. We know God and we know world history.
The knowledge we have is balanced by this biblical wisdom: God is the king of his creation but honors the free will he created in humankind. We know God is able to change the course of history, but we also know that he allows history to be impacted by the choices and consequences of man’s free will. We know we serve a God of miracles who is above the ways of this world and can intervene at any moment. We also know we serve a God who has promised to intervene at some point as the world fails and comes to its end.
When we read predictions from a man like Attali, we do that remembering to evaluate his words by the truth of God’s word.
What is the point?
Referring to Attali’s predictions, the author of the article rhetorically asked, “Is there any point?”
Attali said, “There is no simple answer to that, but if you want to avoid a life which is absurd, I would suggest it is to say simply and with humility that we don’t know the reason why mankind is here on Earth, we don’t know the reason that a million years ago an entity arose which can ask the question ‘why am I here?’”
He then said, “The only thing we can do here in the middle of the universe is to have a better mankind and to hope one day to find the answers to these questions.”
God gave us the answers to those questions. Christians need to make certain others know how to find the answers they need.
Christians need to view the American culture today like Paul taught the Corinthians to view their Roman culture thousands of years ago. Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, an important city in the Roman Empire, saying, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16–18).
Do you have faith for the future?
Christians need to remember to see our culture like Paul taught the Corinthians to view theirs. We don’t lose heart because we don’t lose our faith. Everything on planet Earth is transient. We are called to live our earthly lives with an eternal perspective.
I will always vote my convictions and place my hope in a president who shares those convictions. I love this country, but my faith is in God. I will serve this country because I feel like America is called to be an example to the world. But I want to be careful not to place my faith or hope in a country instead of in God. This is a democracy and the popular vote, the vote that reflects our citizens’ free will, is going to win.
The decline of the world is the promise of Scripture. My hope for all of us was Paul’s hope for the church in Rome: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13).
Rome did fall. The church did rise up. Eventually, the world improved. That is the pattern of world history. That pattern won’t change until Jesus returns. Until then, we have the power of God’s Holy Spirit and the hope of an eternity in heaven.
I don’t know what will happen in America, but I have great faith for the future. The “God of hope” fills me with “all joy and peace in believing.” Let’s choose to walk in his Spirit and we will “abound in hope.”