The Obstacle Course

These are interesting times. Can anyone really deny that the world is in a downward spiral? I mean, sure some things are improving, but I think the bad progress outweighs the good at this point. [Small digression to say that a downward trend can and will include blips of the positive but still be trending down.]

Now, you can look at this in two ways: you can despair or you can refocus. This is where it helps to cultivate a spirit of dispassion. If you’re hysterical on a daily basis you’re going to be too exhausted to do anything. Something my spiritual father told me years ago: when you encounter a piece of outrageous news think, “if I died last week, how much would this affect me now?” The answer, needless to say, is not at all. At least it helps you keep a sense of proportion.

As I look around and see chaos taking over, see the iconoclasm of the left, see us being increasingly held hostage by lies, etc., it’s clear to me that things will not improve. We’ve passed the event horizon and now the only question is how far it is to the singularity. In a way there’s a little relief in this realization. I think you know what I mean. How many times have you been waiting, terrified of bad news, and eventually the waiting gets to be too much and you just want to know the outcome, good or bad? When you finally get the bad news you realize, well, at least I know and I can stop wondering and just do what has to be done. That’s kind of how I feel now.

It doesn’t matter who wins the presidential election in November. It doesn’t matter what the composition of the various legislative bodies is. It doesn’t matter who is or isn’t on the Supreme Court. At this point anything you see as positive is only a blip. It’s time to move beyond that.

Answer these questions: Why are we here? What do we need to accomplish in this life? How are we going to do that? Is what I’m doing now taking me closer or farther away?

Life is local. Our salvation is local. We cannot be so concerned with what’s going on in the next town, state, country, or continent that it distracts us from our most important task: the salvation of our souls. You have enough “room” for all of the above? Great, but I bet you don’t.

As I said above, you have two choices: despair or refocus. Despair is a sin; it takes you away from God. The temptation will be there, of course. If you don’t actively fight it it will take over and consume you. There’s no need to despair: this life and indeed this world is temporary. It’s just an obstacle course. You have to keep your eye on the finish line and keep moving, no matter how long it takes you or how cut and muddy you are when you cross it. Otherwise you’re left sitting in the mud.

Focus. Focus on what’s important. Fix your eyes on Christ. No one can separate you unless you let them. It doesn’t matter what laws are passed, how unfairly you are treated, whether you’re thrown out of your profession for being a Christian, or whether you’re thrown in jail. Do you have a spouse? You are joined together with them. Be a team, encouraging one another in the good fight, lifting each other up and over the obstacles. Do you have children? Be the team-leader, teaching them to get through the course, to be persistent, to keep heading for the goal. Be an example. Pray for them. You can’t carry them over the obstacles forever, so you have to teach them to do it themselves. Your job is to leave them strong enough and focused enough to not only get through the course but to teach their own children to do the same.

Just as you wouldn’t try to run an obstacle course laden with baggage, you have to shed the baggage that is preventing you from focusing on Christ and finishing the course. These are distractions. What are some of the burdens? Well, here are a few: victimhood, envy, greed, concern for worldly success, pride, anger, and the list goes on. Don’t pay attention to false signs leading you away from the finish line, signs that tell you you don’t need to change, that you deserve an obstacle and mud-free life, that you’re stupid for running the course…

Life is not going to be easy. It will be harder for our children than it was for us, and even harder for their children. Christians will have to make choices. Some professions will not be possible for them. Churches will be penalized by the government and will struggle. State education with indoctrination by the state religion (post-modern secularism/critical race theory) will be mandatory. Unlike the early years of the Church the greatest threat will not be martyrdom, but insidious. People will not approach us on the street with a sword and demand that we denounce Christ, they’ll tell us if we want to work as physicians (after 10 years of college), or teachers, or social workers, or for any level of government, etc., we will have to affirm certain things like, “there is no male and female.” Various Fathers of the Church have said that in the last days Christians who merely keep the faith would be more greatly glorified in heaven than even those who raised men from the dead. I think that tells you what kind of struggle we’re facing.

These are not alarmist statements. It’s good to be prepared and look ahead soberly, but not without hope. Christ is our shield and our Savior. Without Him we can do nothing, but with Him we can do all things. Be like the wise virgins and keep your lamps filled. Behold the Bridegroom comes…

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