Edwin Raymond Anderson

“Our Age Has Often Been Described As The Age of Materialism. I Think We Are Discovering Increasingly That It Has Been the Age of Emptiness, and That We Are Now Seeing the Beginning of A Very Massive Reaction to That. It Takes Many Forms.”

These thoughts were revealed by Zbigniew Brzezinski who served the Carter administration as National Security Advisor. It is significant that a director of security should rather express the insecurities and uncertainties of life. But he is not alone, and the assemblies do bespeak that moral condition which has set the scene for this latter transport of the days. Men in high places but hold a low view of things surrounding. Pronouncements carry the word of peril and the sentences, however elegantly expressed, but bear the sound of sorrow.

Surely, this bears of significance for the believer and but bears to the validity of the prophetic Scriptures. The times do turn the tides, and the decades cry of difference. The early decades of this century — so bright with the high-flown promises and achievements of man — assigned the role of doom-bearing to the preachers. These were the “crepehangers” but to be scoffed from the scene. Ah, but these latter days bear witness to the wise of this world pushing away the selfly plaudits, and joining in “the wearing of the gloom.” Something, somewhere, somehow, is seriously missing; the brightness is far from shining, and withal a heavy pall of uncertainty and defeat hangs over the throbbing scene.

The remarks of Mr. Brzezinski were incorporated in an address given at an Eastern political forum. In such a gathering there could be sure knowledge of the failures and fallibilities of men, together with the rustle of uncertainties and disappointments. Of significance to the believer is the contrast which was marked out. “Materialism” and “emptiness” are joined in the suggested sense of “no light at the end of the tunnel.”

Clearly, one notes through this the prophetic reflection that “Men shall be lovers of their own selves” (2 Timothy 3:1), responsible to no trinity save, “Me, myself and I.” Ah! but self can offer no true support, nor does the creature carry the stuff of confidence. Ever are there interior problems which more than offset the proud measures of exterior performances. As Shakespeare did say, for all times, “Aye, there’s the rub.” This is the sorry stuff of true-life drama.

Our political savant refers, in his address, to the “beginning of a very massive reaction” to the scourge and whiplash of “emptiness.” Easily doth one perceive it in the rough round of the thousand-and-one exercises and enterprises of modern man to equate the sorry, nagging balance. Modern man would seek to assuage the pain of interior defilement by a flashing myriad of exterior deeds and doings. Was it not Thoreau who remarked, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation”? “At the bottom of the modern man there is always a great thirst for self-forgetfullness, self-distraction,” remarked Amiel. Ah! “a great thirst,” but greater yet for not having known nor tasted of “the water of life.” Sorry indeed is the confession of de Montaigne, “I know well what I am fleeing from but not what I am in search of.” Yes, ages despite their strivings but do confess to the sorry dead-end of confusion and unreality. Matters could, and should, be better, but … And there hangs the weight of guilt.

Mr. Brezenzski may have his “increasing discoveries” and the end days bear witness to the high spread of materialism abetted by the fast-flowing eddies and currents of science and technology. Surely, one would not decry the ease and comfort which physical wonders have brought to pass in our day. But the believer bypasses the underlining spirit inherent in the structure of these things, well realizing the spiritual damage which perils the soul. To him is not the “emptiness” but rather that blessed fullness which cometh alone from personal linkage with the Lord of life. “Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38). These vital issues are solely in the realm of the spiritual and the elements of eternal consequence. The living Lord ever presents Himself in modern consequence as “the Way, the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6). He is the Final Answer to modern man’s trinity of “Me, Myself and I,” for with HIM there is ne’er increasing dilemma but o’er abounding deliverance!