The other day, as I walked out of school and into the smokey parking lot, with a sun that looked like I’d walked into the Star Wars universe, I started breathing a little heavier and was reminded of the mask against the bottom half of my face, the strong smell of alcohol emulating from my hands.
And I started to count my breaths in rhythm, to avoid any panic that might ensue.
And I thought, This cannot be how it really is.
And then I took another step and another breath, and nothing changed.
The sun was still shrouded by the haze and ash of the on fire hellscape that is currently the entire West Coast and I still counted my breath and held in my tears and kept walking to my car.
I thought, We’re living in a dystopia.
And that thought seemed rather accurate. And at no point in my life would I have ever imagined in any space or time that I would be standing here, the world on fire, the air unbreathable, and everyone contagious.
We’re living in a dystopia.
And then, a few hours later, when I returned to the thought, I also returned to the Truth—the world has always been an on fire hellscape, it just wasn’t quite so literal the whole time. It just wasn’t quite so evident the whole time, unless you were looking.
And then I thought, we may be dystopian, but we are not destroyed.
“and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18b)
When we see destruction, when we see distortion, when we see fire and falling apart—this is not when we lose hope this is when we gear up; this is when we remember our armor.
We look at the smoke and haze, we look at the half-covered faces, and we see an opportunity to bring in the Kingdom of Heaven Now.
If we are a Light on a Hill, how much brighter does that Light shine out in the deepest darkness and the greatest hopelessness?
When we are greatly afraid, where is that fear rooted? I’ll tell you where it’s not rooted; it’s not rooted in Jesus. It’s not rooted in the Holy, the Hopeful, or the Good.
When we are greatly afraid, we should be greatly aware—greatly aware that we need to draw closer to the Presence because where there is Real Love there is no control available for fear.
“Human history is the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.” (C.S. Lewis) And I would add that—which will give him peace, which will offer him hope. There is no world peace, career move, calm society, or social visibility that will ever provide peace. I think many will find that, once things return to “normal”, they will still not have any sense of safety or stability because the façade is gone.
But we, as believers, never should have had a façade.
So, the façade is gone, the game is over, the jig is up (to name a few cliches). So, we can either believe in the dystopian ending or remember that in the midst of the darkness, we are not destroyed and we are not left for dead in the darkness.
The greatest darkness tends to show itself before the greatest breakthrough—I mean, think about the cross.