Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Crushed - Forever

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on the human face – forever.” George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

Wow! Thanks for the input George. Could you please pass the Prozac?

As crazy as Orwell’s statement sounds, I often feel myself leaning in the same direction. Unless your head is buried in the sand or you’re the type that always wears rainbow suspenders with buttons on them and dots your i’s with smiley faces you probably have moments when you feel this way too.

A quick scan of the news makes it look like the boot is stamping harder and harder on the human face.

Egypt and Tunisia are in chaos because of their governments.

Before these two nations, it was Greece.

After current flare-ups die down, another country will find itself hosting the latest round of mandatory curfews, looting and even bloodshed.

I remember driving with my Romanian friend George to visit The People’s Palace after spending a week in his country. While talking to George on the way I learned that the people of Romania weren’t too fired up about The People’s Palace. While American tourists/missionaries like myself saw grand rooms with golden walls, George and his countrymen saw money that could have been better spent preventing massive flood damage that recently destroyed many mud brick homes not too far from the sprawling palace. While we saw the world’s second largest building, George saw a structure that was built at the expense of the lives of friends, family and countrymen – men who took the job only to randomly disappear or turn up dead.

George knew first hand about the impression of the tyrannical boot on the human face.

So did the pastor I met in Uganda.

He was thrown in jail and threatened with execution after four kids in his village repented and believed in the gospel only to die in a freak drowning accident a short time later. He felt the boot’s impression when his wife and children were hunted down and his home faced certain destruction. But he knew that this impression was not forever.

Upon further review, I find Orwell’s view to be wrong on two accounts.

First, it isn’t bleak enough. If every leader in the world suddenly picked up a copy of the Bill of Rights and changed the way they governed, there would still be a boot pressing on our heads. That’s because our problem isn’t a political one – it’s spiritual. As evil as Idi Amin and Nicolae Ceausescu were, they are no match for our real enemy, the god of this world who has “blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

Also, Orwell’s assessment neglects the promise of scripture about another foot stomping down on a head. We see this promise made in the Garden of Eden, perhaps mankind’s darkest hour and worst defeat at the hands of a brutal dictator. God tells Satan, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15).

Instead of a future of some dictator’s tyrannical boot gradually stomping more and more of our heads, believers look forward to a more hope-filled stomping. Part of this promise has already come to pass when Jesus died on the cross and Paul writes that “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him” (Colossians 2:15). The finale comes from a vision John has of the future where “the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:10).

So even if all the world’s leaders got their act together and removed their collective boots from the face of humanity I’d still sit with a faithful wife who is wondering how to care for her ailing husband and I’d still mourn with a friend who tells me about a young teenage friend who died after suffering for six months from a terrible disease.

And that’s why my ultimate hope is in the gospel instead of politics. Politics gives empty slogans while the gospel offers real hope and change. The kind where our loving and compassionate King will “wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

Thank God that the heel of Jesus Christ will one day finally crush the head of Satan – forever.

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