This is based on a word from the Lord I received yesterday morning. I won’t pretend to quote it word for word, but this is the gist, and I’ve injected as little of my own thinking into it as possible.
[Jesus said,] “This is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.”
— John 3:19-20
This past year has brought a rise in “populism”, the “me first”, protectionist, anti-different-people movement that the social commentator, Walt Kelly*, described as “self-righteous-self-interest-and-to-hell-with-everybody-else”. At first, I was a little taken aback by the suggestion that it was a sudden phenomenon that we saw on November 8, 2016. Until yesterday morning, I believed that the people supporting the likes of Donald Trump, Brexit advocates and the far-right movement in France had always been around, but had never truly been listened-to, and had finally found a way to say, “no mas!“.
But the Lord showed me that this change is, indeed, sudden; but its root has been developing over decades; something that may surprise you, as it did me: atheism.
The rise of atheism over the past half-century or so (the Lord says) paved the way for populism. Populism can’t survive without it, because if people have hope in something beyond the world and know the depth, breadth and height of the love God has for them, then political ideas based in hatred and fear can’t get traction. So Job One is to get people believing that there is no God and that even if there is, mankind is smarter than He is.
It doesn’t help that so many people have used portions of the Word of God to justify evil acts and attitudes, and that such a cult of “mystery” has built up around the Bible that ordinary people, for whom the Bible was given in the first place (God loves us so much that He wants us to know all that we need to know about His plan and not be surprised by things that are going on) seem too afraid to crack it open and read it for themselves.
And now comes the darkness that is “populism”. In this darkness of manufactured fear and hatred, people who had been doing their evil deeds in darkness have begun generating their own artificial light, and as their numbers grow, that light gets brighter, so that it will distract people from looking at anything else.
Why not? Humankind has been trying to replace God for some time, from trying to take control over death and life, to judging who is worthy of being healed and who has to settle for “reduced harm”, to the Frankensteinian concept of making human bodies immortal, as was reported recently from Switzerland. Why not try to out-shine the light of Christ at the same time?
Shining their artificial light, these evildoers form their own protective wall, like the old “Flying Wedge” formation in football, so people can’t see what’s really going on.
Their opponents, for their part, are well-intentioned and sincere, but many of them have also tended to espouse a humanist, God-denying worldview. Whatever light their own goodness generates is no match for the false light of the populists.
So we have Populism, Atheism and Evil: the antithesis of Faith, Hope and Love. Consider:
POPULISM – put your trust in a handful of people
FAITH – put your trust in God
ATHEISM – “More than this,” as the old Roxy Music song goes, “there is nothing.”
HOPE – life is about so much more than what we can see around us
EVIL – the antithesis of God
LOVE – the quintessence of God
This seems like a well-planned, coordinated effort, but it has this one fatal flaw.
God is now shining His light on it.
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend [understand, overcome, perceive, can never extinguish] it.
— John 1:4-5 (amplified from NIV, YLT, and NLT)
Wow. Look at all those things darkness cannot do to the Light of Christ. The enemy’s sure-enough trying, but it’s not going to work.
The Light of Christ is stronger and brighter than anything the enemy can throw at us! If we focus on that, we will not just endure, but conquer and bring others along with us to higher heights!
Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.
— 2 Corinthians 2:14
Always. Triumph. In every place.
Thank you, Lord!
*Walt was known as a cartoonist, mainly for a comic strip called Pogo, which flourished from 1948 to about 1972; but through that medium came a lot of insightful and incisive social commentary. Among his more notable quotes (through his characters): “Statistics don’t lie when there’s only one set of books — yours”, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”