May 31, 2019

What I read today;

2 Timothy 4 & Titus 1; Luke 17; Hosea 6-7; Proverbs 1; Job 33; Deuteronomy 4

In 1988 after basic training and technical school, I was assigned to Hahn AB in Germany.  My wife, my 2-year-old daughter, and I flew across the Atlantic and were dropped into the middle of the cold war.

I think I spent more time wearing chemical warfare gear and carrying an M-16 than I actually did doing my job in military personnel.  We were in a constant state of military readiness.  Recall exercises would happen at a moments notice.  Week-long war games happened, sometimes monthly during our first two years in theater.

Then in November of 1989, the wall separating East and West Berlin fell.   As people rushed across the line from east to west, the world changed.  Seemingly overnight eastern Europe went from hated enemy to new ally.  You could almost hear the complacency set in across NATO.  After the stunning defeat of Sadam Hussein in the Gulf War, I read an article by Colin Powell, who was the commander of the Joint Chiefs at the time, stating that the United States would now stand down and reduce its military.  According to the politicians, we no longer had any enemies to fight.  10 years later, those words would haunt the American People when terrorists would plunge airplanes into the Pentagon and the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.  America had fallen into complacency after the end of the Gulf War.

Our spiritual life can be like that as well, can’t it?  During times of struggle and strife, we cry out to God continually.  We attend church, we pray, and we cry out for help and assurance.  We lean all over God and hide under his protection.

But then things turn around.  Maybe our job situation becomes improved. Perhaps we find true love.  Suddenly, we find ourselves fat, dumb, and happy without a care in the world.  That’s when the danger begins.  We forget about how God has helped us through the problems of life.  Our human nature begins to think that we don’t necessarily need that God who, not so long ago, was the center of our world.

Here in the United States, life has been relatively comfortable for a long time.  After World War II, living in the United States has become progressively easier.  Our work weeks went from 80 hours while farming to 40 hours while working at our much more manageable jobs.  We changed from a life that centered around our community centers and churches to a life that centered around entertainment.  With the birth of the TV in the 1950’s people stopped going to neighbors homes and instead sat around the TV.  In the 1970s, video games came out and slowly, kids stopped playing outside and began living in front of game consoles.  In the 1980s, cable TV came out, and culture slowly continued deteriorating.  In the 1990s the internet exploded, and culture decline sped up.  In the early 2000s Social Media took off, and society became more divided and angry and secluded.  Finally, smartphones allowed us to carry our fantasy land with us in our hip pockets.

Moses warned the Jewish people that during times of complacency, it’s easy to forget who God is and what God has done for us.

I wonder if our society has forgotten as well.

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