The message in today’s article is crucial for the peace of your spirit. And the health of your body depends on the peace of your spirit, so you could say today’s blog is pretty important.
Things are tense right now. Earthquakes, floods, fires, political tensions, threats of war, and racial divisions. A cursory look at life could make a person think the world is going to hell in a handbasket, but we should not make the mistake of evaluating life based on observations made in our lifetime. It’s a good thing we have the historical record to help us keep our perspective healthy. And a healthy perspective is always good because it helps us keep our hope and patience alive.
Many generations have had dark, difficult times. Take a look a few examples:
- Things looked bleak in the mid-1800s for the U.S. The country pulled itself apart as states took sides on the issue of slavery.
- They also looked dark in the late 1400s when England had been consumed by the War of the Roses which dragged on for nearly a hundred years.
- There was little optimism in the mid-1700s as the colonists watched their fickle King George, whose German heritage gave him little patience for civil and political liberty, remove right after right.
- In the 1940s, people thought the world would plunge into perpetual war with the rise of Hitler, Mussolini, and the Japanese emperor.
It’s important to remember that life on planet earth goes in cycles. Good times always follow the bad. After each of the crises I listed above, the world experienced a time of peace and restoration. During the crises, however, people expected decades of wreck and ruin, which did not materialize. Just as winter does not last forever, neither does the winter of history.
Knowing that life goes in cycles will help you weather the current storms so that you do not get impatient to see things “just get over with.” Impatience is not helpful when things are tense. The US civil war did not follow the usual 100 year timeline. It came about 20 years early. I think impatience caused it.
People of the time are recorded as saying they needed to end slavery by any means necessary, even pastors and preachers. Impatience filled the air and moral compromise followed. Any means meant the inclusion of violence. Opening the door to violence does not resolve a problem; it hides it under bloodshed. When they sacrificed patience, they sacrificed a peaceful resolution. I believe new technologies like the cotton gin would have brought slavery’s end quickly. England shifted the economics of slavery and ended it; we could have too. The point I’m making is that moral revolutions can and do occur peacefully.
There is a reason patience is listed as a virtue. It gives an individual and a society strength to weather storms of change without giving into destruction. History shows over thousands and thousands of years that injustice is always corrected. Evil always falls. It just takes time and good people.
If you find yourself getting impatient lately, getting short with those you love, and saying things you normally would not say on social media, I encourage you to make time to look at history. See what those before you have patiently negotiated. Play your part in your lifetime, so that the world became a better place to live and the door to violence stays firmly shut because of you.