A reader writes:
Like you, I spend a decent amount of time thinking about what the future of US culture is going to look like and how I’m going to raise my family and generally configure my life as best I can to avoid the worst of it. But I was really convicted this morning for my lack of trust in God to care for my family – evidenced primarily by my lack of prayer on all these future uncertainties. Instead, my focus has been on strategy, practical decisions about big questions, and – as much as anything – worry.
This contrast came as I read Psalm 12 this morning and was reminded that so many before us have been surrounded by entire cultures that are antithetical to a life of faith in God that the faithful don’t want to imitate, themselves or their children; verse 7 praises God for protecting us specifically from “this generation.” Certainly this doesn’t mean that I get to abdicate my responsibility to think about these and make wise, sometimes uncomfortable, unpopular choices, but that can’t be the only thing I do. I’ve seen people around me do “all the right things,” and it wasn’t enough.
Again, while I’m recognizing there’s ‘nothing new under the sun,’ I agree with you that we’re seeing a major shift from the way at least my parents and their parents lived and the institutions they could trust, and we do have some tough decisions to make.
But also I’m starting to realize that my ‘strategy’ or Benedict Option, whatever that ends up looking like, is going to require as much of me spiritually as it is practically, and that all my planning and all my strategy can fall short – as so many human endeavors do; it’s like a team only playing defense.
At this point, I’ve looked out and seen what I don’t want my family’s future to look like, but now it’s time to really start doing what I can, even while these things play out far in the future. There are a lot of things outside of my control, but there are a lot of things that are up to me – like my prayer life and spiritual discipline, and doing the minimum is not going to cultivate the sort of culture in the home that looks different from the culture outside it.
Save, O Lord, for the godly one is gone;
for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.
Everyone utters lies to his neighbor;
with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.
May the Lord cut off all flattering lips,
the tongue that makes great boasts,
those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail,
our lips are with us; who is master over us?”
“Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan,
I will now arise,” says the Lord;
“I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”
The words of the Lord are pure words,
like silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
purified seven times.
You, O Lord, will keep them;
you will guard us from this generation forever.
On every side the wicked prowl,
as vileness is exalted among the children of man.