One Thing the World Can’t Take Away

(by Tank Tankersley)

In Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, Ebenezer Scrooge replies to his clerk Bob Cratchit’s wishing Scrooge a merry Christmas with, “I’ll retire to Bedlam”. Scrooge cannot fathom what a poorly-paid clerk with a large family to support can possibly find to be merry about. Scrooge proclaims that he might as well live in an insane asylum, given that all around him appear to have taken leave of their senses.

I am no fan of Scrooge, pre-epiphany, but I can understand his frustration. I sometimes wonder if I do not live in a world gone foaming-at-the-mouth and baying-at-the-moon insane. Do you think that some lawmakers, when the legislature is in session, arise every morning and e-mail the devil (princeofdarkness@satan’’severywhere?) to request their marching orders for the day? It is tempting to so conclude.

Do you think that some judges assiduously search the scriptures for God’s precepts, so that they can immediately and dramatically set them at naught? Surely one can be forgiven for so imagining. Do you think that there are some juries that think… well, not all? Do you think that some of those “entertainment types” whose malefactions stain our newspapers have taken an oath to live their lives as if making an obscene gesture in the very face of God? It sometimes seems so.

Is everyone rude, uncivil, impolite, and discourteous, or merely almost everyone?

Why is purity ridiculed and perversion exalted? Why is the sickening embraced and the sublime rejected? Why is the disgusting applauded and the divine scoffed at? In art, in music, in literature, the market for the base, the vile, the sordid soars, but the beautiful, the edifying, the transcendent claim few adherents.

The simplest truths are explained away and the oddest philosophies embraced. Is there nothing real, nothing true, nothing that can be relied upon? For many, apparently not. It has come to this: We live in a”whatever, dude” world.

Does this sound like a sane world to you? When we read the morning newspaper or watch the nightly news, it is easy to conclude that the lunatics have seized control.

So one is inclined to observe, “Ebenezer, save me a room in the wacko ward”. It is so easy to become discouraged. But we mustn’t, you know.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?… For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord”. (Romans 8: 35; 38-39).

Yes, it is easy to conclude that we live in a world gone mad. But even in such a world, Jesus hangs on to his own. Knowing that, we can, in our little corner of the insanity, believe God’s word, glory in his grace, and live out, day by day, the love of Jesus that so much of the world holds in contempt. This evil world cannot separate us from the love of Jesus. In that regard Satan and his minions, and they are legion, are powerless. God’s love, most compellingly displayed in the incarnation and the atoning sacrifice of God in the flesh, is the one thing that a world gone mad cannot take away.

– Tank Tankersely