Anecdote: In my current position, I have been able to play to my strengths. I am able to teach; I am able to minister; I get to have open and honest conversations with fellow soldiers; but perhaps what I love more than anything else are the opportunities I have to listen. Just listening to soldiers’ stories is an education that I have not gained from books of counseling, books of theology, books of history, books upon books upon books. I seem to never tire of reading and learning, and I’ve seldom discovered a bookstore out of which I could not excavate some treasures, but in listening to the stories of some of our soldiers, I sense multiple things have happened in our culture, and multiple shifts are still happening and will continue. And these shifts are signs of a diminution—a tragic lessening and attempted erasure of human dignity—but also perhaps the beginning of the birth pains that may give rise to a biblical revival. As Steve Deace has repeatedly said, the West is at a tipping point where it is “Revival or bust” (sic.).
Which is it—diminution or hope? My answer: Yes. I think it’s both. I don’t know how any intellectually honest person could deny that our culture is staggeringly coarse, staggeringly profane, staggeringly determined to turn everything sacred into the profane and everything profane into a demonic sacred. It’s upside down world. Men, we are told, are women if they feel like it. And women cannot be defined now, not even by a judge on America’s highest court, because she (a woman, wife, and mother, too) is “not a biologist.” I’m not either, but I sure know what a woman is.
Just today when I read a smattering of stories online, a ‘transgender pastor’ likened the woman who murdered six people last week in Nashville, TN at a Christian school to Christ. Here’s the article for you: https://www.foxnews.com/media/transgender-pastor-compares-marginalized-nashville-shooter-jesus-crucified
This is one example of what it means to be diminished. The cultural rotgut we’ve drunk is playing out as rotgut does—via sickness. As Isaiah wrote:
Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of falsehood,
who draw sin as with cart ropes,
who say: “Let him be quick,
let him speed his work
that we may see it;
let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near,
and let it come, that we may know it!”
Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter!
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
and shrewd in their own sight!
Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine,
and valiant men in mixing strong drink,
who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
and deprive the innocent of his right! (Isaiah 5:18-23, ESV)
To speak plainly, this is what reprobation looks like. It is a world in consummate rebellion against God (Father, Son, & Holy Spirit) , against his Word (the 66 books of the Bible), against his incarnation (Christ), and against nature (general revelation). It is man as rebel. Man as exile from Eden. Man as Cain—mad, murderous, and marked. It’s upside down world, where what is truly good is now to be hated. Why? Because those who hate God say so. As if volume, crossdressing, and bodily mutilation were actual rational arguments rather than evidence of the lack of coherence and rationality. In short, this is diminution. It is man being reduced. It cheapens the value of human life and attempts to turn men into beasts. By attempting to erase the beauty that is women’s femininity, we’re seeing monstrous mutilation and attempts to erase the imago Dei. Instead of the glory that is the masculinity of men, we’re seeing a deracinated race of boys and men castrated and injected to resemble creatures like something from B-grade horror films from the 1950s. And it’s heartbreaking. Why? Because these are people made in the image of God, and the satanic forces rejecting God and his revelation are incorrigible in their determination to continue until every vestige of humanity is atomized. Diminution via secularism.
Signs of hope: Now back to stories from soldiers (and others). I was teaching recently. But when the prescribed courses had been covered, several soldiers opened up. They shared candidly about how they felt and about how they saw the world. I would never include names or anything like that out of respect for those with whom I serve, those whom I love, but here’s a sample of things I listened to, just over recent times. And bear in mind, these are soldiers from 20-years-old to their late 50s.
- “We have ‘safe spaces’ and mental health resources and suicide prevention classes. But where are the results? We have a mission to do, and no amount of ‘safe spaces’ and Power points are making a difference. Our military is ripe for defeat with all this stuff. How do you explain that?”
- “I’m all for diversity but at what point is denying reality not diversity but insanity?”
- “Where is God in all this?”
I could go on and on with questions I’ve been asked. Some were quite articulate and well-thought-out queries; others were less questions than accusations and/or frustrations with the spiritual trajectory they sense.
Here’s why I think it’s a sign of hope: If folks didn’t ask the questions, if they didn’t care enough, I think we’d be in even more danger. I do not wish to deny what I think is plain: we are under divine judgment. Why? Because we’ve told God to take a hike, that we would do things our way. And our way is the broad way that leads to damnation. But most folks seem resolved to go there as quickly as possible and the nation (and the West to a large degree) is erecting that hell on earth with a quickness and efficiency that would make the artisans of the Great Pyramids jealous.
But some are asking. Some do care. Some do have eyes to see and ears to hear. Some do know that men are men, that women are women, that men should not be in women’s sports, and vice versa. Some do care enough to speak the truth in love. Some do care enough to try and reach those they love with the truth that God is real, that he has spoken, that he is not silent, that his Word (the Scriptures) are his revealed will, that Christ is God incarnate, and that hell will not ultimately prevail—not over the redeemed bride.
There are, I say, signs of hope. We just have to listen to these signs of hope, stand firm in the truth of God, be of good courage, and be found faithful. Is that Polyannish? Is that sentimental? I don’t think so. Believe me, I know spiritual warfare. I know who the enemy of men’s souls is. But the Savior of men’s souls is also a warrior, a conquering king, the King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6:15, ESV). That, dear reader, is the reason to hope.
2 thoughts on “Diminished or Signs of Hope?”
Oh the hope we have! It is horrifying to watch this world but exciting to know those who stand strong will win. As we read through the Word, front to back, we know the world is in a spiral downward and we are in a battle to pull others to the right side. God’s will will be done so if we want to finish strong we must be faithful and obedient and steadfast…knowing in the end He wins. I choose to be on the winning team! Who will we bring with us???
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So well said, Lisa.