Living in Times of Peril
Updated: Mar 30, 2022
You would have to be living in a cave to not recognize the perilous times we are living in. Although noted author and theologian C.S. Lewis wrote about this very topic 81 years ago, at the advent of World War II, it might be even more imperative today than ever. Here are a few snippets, "tweaked" to reflect our current times.
The 24-hour news cycle contributes to the anxiety and angst in our society. Smart tech is great in some ways, but online 24/7 has its drawbacks, too. Remember having to wait for the afternoon newspaper or evening TV news to find out what was going on in the world? I miss those days! Today, watching rapidly evolving stories about a global pandemic, the hotly contested presidential election and post-election mess in the US, civil unrest, and other topics, "is like watching a slow-motion car wreck. It's been difficult to look away, to do anything else but watch." Limit how much time you spend on social, and other media! It helps!
Today's high-tech world makes it seem like our problems are unique to this day and age because we are exposed to them all-too-often. This is more perception than reality. Try World War II, when MILLIONS of American families didn't know if their loved ones would be returning home alive from a brutal, overseas war that was fought on three continents. What about the Cold War, when nuclear holocaust seemed likely? Or the longstanding war in Vietnam that dragged on for bloody year after blood year? Think THOSE weren't SCARY times for all who lived through them!?
The pandemic isn't even limited to a recent development. Ever hear of polio? "Polio was once one of the most feared diseases in the U.S. In the early 1950s, before polio vaccines were available, polio outbreaks caused more than 15,000 cases of PARALYSIS each year."
After vaccines were introduced, the number of cases fell substantially in the 1960s to where it became almost nonexistent in the 1970s. I believe the same will hold true with the coronavirus. In fact, with the advancement of medicine since those days, I don't think it'll take even remotely that long to develop an effective cure.
The point is, recognizing that in spite of our fears and troubles, we have "been there, done that," AND...overcome...before... helps restrain our nerves and emotions from leading us "to think that our "present predicament is more abnormal than it really is." History shows us that humans have always been living in the "shadow of imminent danger."
So, while COVID-19 itself is "new," that isn't entirely true. Civil unrest? Ever hear of the Black Panthers in the 1960s? What about not one, but TWO major assassinations in the US in the span of three months in 1968? And so, while I believe we ARE living in times of peril, the truth is that has long been the case.
The key lies in having FAITH. And that, I believe, is where the US isn't as resilient as it once was and where this blessed nation must get back to.
Consider how people prayed en masse for their loved ones to return home from WWII. As the saying goes, "there are no atheists in foxholes."...
...God isn't asking us to figure it all out, He IS asking us to trust that He already has. Regardless of the times, THAT is the remedy to overcoming fear and anxiety. "For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and a sound mind." 2 Timothy: 1-7.
Is this easy? No! But it DOES make a difference. So above all, let's thank God for our blessings and remember that, even though it often doesn't seem like it, HE is the one on the throne, not the president of the United States, not Congress, nor anyone else. I don't know about you, but I feel better already.
Additional sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "C.S. Lewis on Living in Times of Peril," by Joseph Griffin, April 9, 2020.