We live within that part of human history (meaning, after Eden and before the Second Coming) where the "truth" is most often a lie. Where the most heinous deeds are dressed up as not only "honorable" but "godly". Where the people we desperately need to trust most propagandize us with snaky smiles, crocodile tears, and twisted information. Where animals suffer for no reason beyond human arrogance, where children go hungry for no reason beyond human greed, where woman and children (and sometimes men) are assaulted in ways they never truly heal from for no reason beyond human depravity, and where people die for no reason beyond human convenience. And all of that in a culture that packages it all up and sells it to us as "entertainment" on cable TV.
It's no wonder we so often just tune it all out, as best we can. And it's no wonder it breaks so many of us -- shatters us into bitterness, rage, and even revolution, when we can't.
But Jesus talked to us about that. From His warning that we will certainly have trouble in this world, to his teaching regarding the thorns of worry and wealth choking out our faith, Jesus never left us with any impression that life would be easy now, or that since He'd defeated Satan's power over us that the world would now be a sweet little lullaby of a place to live.
Especially for those of us with strong empathy muscles.
"Activists" (mostly on the "left", but sometimes on the "right") are generally people with strong empathy muscles. They are also people who don't inevitably flinch away from a full look at what suffering and oppression looks and feels and sounds like for other people. Even more, they tend to be people who are willing to put a lot (even their lives) on the line to make suffering and oppression stop.
The problem is, activism doesn't really work.
Oh, it can sometimes work in superficial ways. A new law makes not paying your workers right a punishable offense, for example, or a revolution tosses out the right-wing puppet that was torturing or murdering people.
But no human action, law, or revolution -- no human reasoning, feeling, or persistence -- can make people stop preferring evil.
In fact, even those who put everything on the line to make evil stop, themselves inevitably fall into evil. Think, for just one example among (literally) thousands, of the Russian Revolution, which began to end the rule of a small elite that lived in luxury while most people went hungry and exploited, and which ended in the rule of another small elite that lived in luxury while most people continued hungry and exploited. But think also of the Christians in the early history of the church who sought to end the persecutions and executions of tens of thousands of Christians by making Christianity a legitimate part of the ruling secular power/emperor, only to thereby set up a religious power/emperor (called the pope) who over the following centuries persecuted and executed millions of Christians it called "heretics", "witches", and more.
Only a tiny bit of study proves that no human action, law, or revolution -- no human reasoning, feeling, or persistence -- can make even good people stop preferring evil, in the end.
As C.S. Lewis once said:
Let's pray that the human race never escapes from Earth to spread its iniquity elsewhere.
But we will, in the end, "escape" the earth of human evil. When Jesus comes again, and takes us into the air to be with Him, that is the beginning of our escape. Because that will be the time when there is no more waiting for God's justice. At that time, God will:
- No longer have to hold back from destroying what's evil to make sure what's good isn't accidentally destroyed along with it. Instead, He can:
- Judge and pronounce sentence on the monster of gushing, slimy human and satanic evil that will have by that time made this world into a huge spiritual and physical cesspool. Then He can:
- Destroy all those who even then rise up to reject His ways and do battle with Him, including the False Prophet that pretended to be His people, did signs and wonders in His Name, and deceived and killed so many.
In other words: all those prayers ever offered up to God, begging Him to stop the evil of lies, of greed, of exploitation, of war, murder, rape, and torture, of forced hunger, and more? On that day God will answer every single one of those prayers, and His answer will stand forevermore.
The solution then, is patience. One of those fruits of the Spirit we are supposed to pray for and find blooming larger and larger in our hearts and lives each day. And part of the way to that patience is studying God's Word, to learn and hold in our heart the stories of others who had to wait through things that were really hard, and that made no reasonable sense, and that were just plain wrong, until it was finally time for God to fix it.
It's still going to be nuts, this human world where even goodness comes with the taint of sin.
But we can wait. We can get there.
With Jesus' help, we can't fail.