“Why Is Juvenile Crime Soaring to New Records? Why Should Life Be So Unbearable That the Suicide Rate for Youngsters Between 5 and 14 Years Old Has Doubled in the Last Few Years? Why Do So Many Youngsters Who Graduate from Reform Schools End Up in Prison?”
This litany composed of equal parts of sorrow and perplexity was spread across the pages of a sociological report presented to an assembled study forum at one of our midwestern universities. Questions, deep and dark, which burrow their way through a too thin fabric of modern society. But, then, midwestern forums are not alone in the gatherings of confusion. That which bears the branding-mark of sin, knows naught of geography, nor grants exemption to those higher levels of society which perchance might be considered as void of such guilt.
‘Tis of significance that the summation of this forum report bears the regret of, “we are failing this generation.” Success upon other levels cannot erase the stigma. In fact, the positives gathered upon the physical level but emphasize the negatives increasingly realized upon the stratas of morality. The entrance of sin (Romans 5:12) bears the sorrowful footprints upon the scenes of latter-day shadowings.
The sociological forum centres its witness upon the specimen trinity of questions. Answers are not their forte, and indeed the agony and antagonism of these end-times reveal the increasingly narrow field for such endeavours.
But the failure of the forum does not extend to the believer. The Word of God is in his hand and rules the measures of his heart. Questions such as those raised in the midwest are apprehended as bearing the bitter fruit of the basic root located in the enterprises of Satan. He knows that the primal question was raised of the serpent in the bower of Eden; a question which would strike at the authority of the Lord God (Genesis 3:1). Doubt as to deity quickly reflects itself in the disasters of the daily doings. With the Genesis declarative as the background, it is easy to comprehend the force of our Lord’s statement regarding him, “he … abode not in the truth because there is no truth in him” (John 8:44). That which has missed the mark in the affairs of the world is but reflective of that initial straying of the evil one who desires not, with malice of heart, to abide in the way and wisdom of the Lord.
Questions reflect themselves in doubt and uncertainty. There is fearfulness and trembling of heart, for the questioning spirit casts the fog o’er that which would indicate mooring and anchorage. It would not be difficult to understand that word of Thoreau to the fact that “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” The latter days have but increased the volume. There is thunder in the quivering heart. ‘Twas Camus who remarked, “There is only one truly philosophical problem, and that is suicide.” “A tendency to self-destruction seems to be inherent in the human brain,” was the opinion of Simeons. Webb opined, “To contemplate suicide is surely the best exercise of the imagination.” Yet self-destruction assumes the many forms e’en when the physical remains intact. In all these dark considerations, there is that deeper, more poignant death, which affects the soul and disturbs the issues of eternal consequence.
The sociologists cry for the, “Failing of this generation.” Yet that failure is not to be traced to the inefficiency of programs and movements, but rather to the neglect of those transforming measures which bear upon the spiritual. Paul, by the Spirit, puts the penetrating finger upon the root of the questions, the doubtings, the increasing instabilities, when he set forth the declarative, “the god of this age hath blinded the minds of them who believe not” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Of significance to note is that “blinded” is tuphloo, meaning “to obscure,” bearing the root thought of “casting a paralyzing fog.” The stroke of Eden issues into modern expression in the gathering up of these end-times. “Wit’s End Corner” is measured in the thousand-and-one avenues of modern society, with despair, disillusionment and disappointment as the tarnished trinity which rides across the moral landscape.
“Why?…why?…” will ever bear the branding across the heart and ways of modern man, until he personally appropriates the reality of Him who is the “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending” (Revelation 1:8), “the First and the Last” (Revelation 1:17). There is no completion, no solution apart from “repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). Modern man must gather the needful lesson that the interior is the prime factor, and whatever there be of program and schedule must first be centred upon the issues of eternal consequence. Rightness of soul will ever set the proper course and solution.