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Until Then…

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

The Bible says that one day there will be a new Heaven and Earth.

All earthly struggles of life will pass away.

All pain will come to an end.

The instruments of war will be no longer be made.

World peace will finally come.

Poverty will become a thing of the past.

But until then, what do we do?

How do we live?

We love one another.

We work on minimizing the division between us.

We solve the issues that confront us by working together.

This isn’t something we don’t know.

But there are those who only agree to disagree.

Where does that get them?

Many still have not learned to set aside their differences.

We are capable of ending division, the hatred that consumes us.

It’s not impossible.

It is because God made us with the capacity to be united in purpose for the greater good of humankind.

We all get it wrong. God knows that. He forgives us when we mean it.

Are you angry at someone?

Have you been hurt deeply?

Do you harbor hate in your soul?

You say, “But you don’t know what he or she did to me!”

No, I don’t.

God does.

He feels every tear you cry.

He was there when you were harmed.

Why did He allow so much pain in your life?

I don’t know, but He does.

I have asked that why question about the child and adult abuse I experienced from my father, Jim, and others.

I remained stuck in unforgiveness for decades.

It was ruining my life.

I was becoming bitter.

My wonder about the gift of life God gives us was fading.

Hate was eating away at me like a corrosive acid.

I was challenged by family, friends and colleagues, to let hate go, so healing would come in.

But how does doing this tough work of releasing the pain to God, make any difference to the problems of our world?

It doesn’t solve the war in Ukraine.

The effects of climate change are harming our world.

Economic uncertainty threatens the future of our children and our children’s children.

Students graduate from colleges and universities without knowing that they will have a secure future.

Many of them can’t find work.

Many are stuck in dead-end minimum wage jobs.

Other people are the victims of slave labor and human trafficking. Many who are trafficked are sold into a life of prostitution. They are treated as a commodity that goes to the highest bidder.

We must do all we can to end this criminal activity, and give people back their lives.

The problem is made worse by corrupt officials who look the other way. They need to be brought to justice.

Many people are living at home with their parents into their thirties, forties, and some into their fifties. That’s not the future parents thought any of their children would have.
That’s not the future their sons and daughters thought they would have.

The middle class is shrinking at an alarming rate.

The gulf between the rich and poor grows wider.

The cost of inflation is increasing, but wages aren’t keeping pace with it.

People falling behind are told relief is coming, but when? Six months? A year? Two years? It seems no one has an answer to that question.

Promises things will get better don’t feed empty bellies.

The generational cycle of poverty that keeps people trapped into thinking they will always be poor continues.

When the reduction of poverty should be a top priority, there are those who would prefer not dealing with it.

It can wait.

Millions of infants are dying of malnutrition, but that’s not a main issue?

How would you feel if as a mother or father you saw your children die of hunger?

What would you do if you had to decide which children you could feed and those who would starve?

Many are homeless, but that’s an acceptable situation?

They are dying out in the cold, but that’s a secondary issue?

People with a middle class income are deciding what medications they can afford, and those they will have to do without.

An article in the Toronto Star says a health care crisis is imminent.

“A silent health crisis is looming as more people struggle to pay for their prescription drugs. Even before the pandemic, the statistics were staggering.

About 7.5 million citizens — one in five Canadians — either did not have prescription drug insurance or had inadequate insurance to cover their medication needs. One in four Canadian households were having difficulty finding money to buy their medicines. One million Canadians cut spending on food and heat to afford them.” 1

“Canada is the only country in the world that has universal health care but no universal drug coverage.” in 2016 a health study found that 968,000 Canadians denied themselves of the basic necessities of life to afford their medications. The numbers break down this way. 730,000 people skimped on food while 238,000 people spent less on heating their home. 2

If this situation isn’t bad enough hundreds of Canadians are dying every year because they can’t afford their medications.

‘A new report by the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions estimates that hundreds of Canadians die every year because they are unable to afford their prescription medication.

The report estimates that a lack of prescription drug coverage contributes annually to:

  • 370-640 premature deaths due to ischemic heart disease
  • 270-420 premature deaths of working-age Canadians with diabetes
  • 550-670 premature deaths from all causes among working-age Canadians

Because these groups may overlap, the researchers caution that the numbers can’t be added together to come up with a total.

“We’ve known for years that Canada’s system of prescription drug coverage is inefficient and ineffective,” said Linda Silas, president of the federation, in a press release.

“Now we know that our system is also costing lives each and every day, while worsening the health of tens of thousands every year.”3

The numbers don’t tell the personal stories of people who can’t afford prescribed medications or treatments. I share this one with you written by Jacqueline Barba, an American citizen. She is the Editor-In-Chief of the online magazine Downers Grove South Blueprint. She was denied coverage through her mother’s job for a medication she needs as a result of having her thyroid removed. She was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. The thyroid controls essential bodily functions such as one’s heart rate. The medication Synthroid does the job her thyroid would do if it was still there. It costs $450 a month. Jacqueline asks these two sobering questions: 1) “Do people deserve to die for not being wealthy? Do I deserve to die because I can’t afford my medication?” 4

The poor and the middle class are told help is on the way.

How do you look into the eyes of want and say it needs to be patient?

Other issues such as restoring the economy after the global pandemic is over, are given more focus.

True. Without a healthy economy there will be more unemployment.

Some economists are starting to use that dreaded “r’ word – recession.

We can’t ignore the issues affecting our ability to survive as a species.

But until that new Heaven and Earth becomes a reality how are we to live?

Live the way God calls you to.

Continue to speak out against injustice and equality.

Be a voice for those growing weary of fighting for themselves to get the health care they need.

Don’t be among the apathetic.

I get it. We all have not just CoVid fatigue, but also increasing stress in our lives.

We will only get through this time of crisis as we stand together.

Take on the things you can do something about.

Be a part of the solution, not the problem.

Don’t give up on that soul God puts in your pathway.

Tell people like Putin and the oligarchs who support him that you will not be paralyzed into inaction.

You will have compassion for others.

You will help people as much as you can.

You will do your best to be a good neighbor, a caring friend.

I know.

The journey I’m prayerfully asking you to consider is a rough one.

You will face opposition from those who resist change.

Try to work with and not against them.

Seek to educate them about the critical realities we face.

In advocating for the rights of others, I have lost more battles than I have won.

But when you get one person on your side, it has a ripple effect

You have one more individual who will help you to help others.

That person changes the mind of another.

That’s how we build better communities, and a more caring society.

We can touch one life.

We can defeat Putin and all those who try to stop us from making that difference by being part of the solution.

God leaves the choice with us.

Together we can change our communities and our world.

We can give our children and our children’s children a future.

Perhaps, you have grown weary in being that voice of change in your community. You are in burnout. It’s okay to take a rest. Be good to yourself. Renew your energy.

When you wake up, please ask yourself this question. How can I make the lives of others a little better?

The issues society faces now and in the future can only be dealt with as we do what we can to be there for others until then – the day that Christ comes again, and that new Heaven and Earth arrive.

I‘m a stumbling sinner saved by grace.