2020 is not the first time in history that mankind has been surprised with an overwhelming fear and panic stemming from the latest trial and tribulation showing up on the scene. In truth, it seems to happen on a fairly regular basis. In 1945 the atomic bomb was dropped on Japan. A few years later Russia detonated its first atomic bomb. Into the early 1950’s a certain panic began moving in like a London fog …. people began to realize the overwhelming danger of “the bomb.” By the early 1950s, schools across the United States were training students to dive under their desks and cover their heads. The now-infamous duck-and-cover drills simulated what should be done in case of an atomic attack—and channeled a growing panic over an escalating arms race.
In 1948, C.S. Lewis wrote an article called “On Living in an Atomic Age”. My son-in-law showed me a copy of it the other day. “Jack” (Lewis’s friends called him Jack) once again brings true perspective that can shine some light on our present day challenge. Here it is:
“In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. “How are we to live in an atomic age?” I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.”
In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics; but we have that still.
It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty. This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together.
If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.” (C.S. Lewis, “On Living In An Atomic Age”)
So, as we’ve noted before, when the Lord returns, he expects us to be at work doing what he has called us to do …loving God and loving one another…and he will always be there to help us…. that is always good news.