Thoughout the pandemic, I’ve joked that living in New York City has felt much like the apocalypse.
Which, I stand by.
The deserted streets. The refrigerated 18-wheeler trucks serving as temporary morgues outside the hospitals. The boarded up shops and vacant, deserted real estate in Manhattan. It’s just been eerie. And yes, has felt like the end of the world.
However, after listening to the readings at Mass on Sunday, I dunno…there is a small part of me…at the risk of sounding crazy…that had a moment of, “Wait, are we living in the end times?”
And look, I’m not some doomsday prepper here or anything. I don’t have a bunker in my basement for an impending zombie apocalypse. Nor am I an extreme religious fanatic that swears off technology as a tool of the devil…although, arguably there certainly are some uses of technology that are.
But I don’t know. There is a part of my heart that is just unsettled with this unanswered question…Is this “the End Times” that we have been warned about in the Bible?
Let me take a step back here and share with you the passage that sparked this spiritual tangent.
In the desert prepare the way of the LORD!
Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill shall be made low;
the rugged land shall be made a plain,
the rough country, a broad valley.
Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together;
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
Listen, as soon as I heard the word, “wasteland,” that’s exactly where my mind went.
NYC has become a wasteland. I was literally talking about that with a friend this weekend.
It’s become a Covid-induced wasteland.
The city is dark by 9pm. Homelessness is at crisis level. Garbage and run-down, vacant storefronts are everywhere. We had a snow storm at the end of last week, and the snow fell during the wee hours of the morning on garbage day. And so the trash was just never picked up. So piles and piles of snow-covered garbage lined the streets all weekend.
My special gentleman and I went grocery shopping last night at Whole Foods, and the shelves were EMPTY. And when I say empty, I mean, refrigerators completely empty. There was no meat. Inventory on everything from yogurt to eggs to GARLIC was not just low, but non-existent. There was NO GARLIC for crying out loud! It was as though someone came in and just ransacked the store. At Whole Foods.
So when that word “wasteland” was used in the Bible, when I had literally just used it to describe NYC some 18 hours before…it resonated, and my ears perked up.
Is this the wasteland we’re supposed to make a straight path in? All this Covid tragedy, the tanking economy…are those the mountains being made low? Are we being metaphorically leveled? The surge in intensity in recent natural disasters…is this the wrath of God fulfilling prophetic scripture?
And that’s not to even mention the moral corruption that has now become secular dogma.
I did a little research on Isaiah, who penned this passage, and it turns out he was one of the greatest biblical prophets. Quoting from the United Council of Catholic Bishops, speaking of Isaiah: “The enormous abyss between God’s sovereign holiness and human sinfulness overwhelmed the prophet.”
I mean, has anyone else been overwhelmed by human sinfulness that has become celebrated — and seemingly with increasing intensity — here recently? I know I have!
What used to be black and white in moral truth has now been replaced by “MY truth,” and with it comes acceptance and celebration of scandalous things. I don’t need to bore you with examples you already know. But here’s one that may be new…”Only Fans.”
And to top things off, our culture has gone so far as to even deny our identity as either a male or female — perfectly imperfect divine creations — and now even biology is up for debate.
We have just strayed so incredibly far from the perfect harmony that God intended in the Garden.
I am just overwhelmed by the “enormous abyss” between God’s holiness and the cultural wasteland we find ourselves in.
Which leads back to my question: are we living in the End Times?
As I’ve prayed about it, and pondered this today, my heart keeps being led back to this thought: it doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t matter.
Whether we’re on the brink of the apocalypse or not, that shouldn’t matter. Because we should be living in light of eternity, no matter if we have impending doom on the horizon, or not.
Regardless, we should be actively striving to make ourselves right with God: asking for forgiveness where we need. Living to honor and keep His commandments. Sharing His Good News in this increasingly hostile environment.
Regardless, we should be working to “make peace” with every relationship in our lives. We should be righting wrongs, burying hatchets, apologizing, expressing love and gratitude for those in our lives. Sharing our blessings and helping shoulder the burdens of others.
Because, whether or not “The Big, Triumphant Day” of the Lord’s second coming is something we’ll be around to personally witness, — real talk here — at some point, the end of the world — our world — will come. And we don’t know when that day will be. God willing it will be after a long, healthy and abundant life. But life is just too dang short and too unpredictable.
So like the living will that I have on my desk that I was supposed to notarize two months ago — why not get our ducks in a row, now. So that when the end comes, we’ll have no regrets. No stone left unturned. No wishes for “shoulda/woulda/coulda’s.”
We must make straight a pathway for God in the midst of the cultural wasteland in which we find ourselves.
Band together with fellow Jesus followers, and do everything we can to keep our head above the murky sludge we’re fighting not to drown in. And somehow, with our small but mighty group of believers, we’ll prepare a way for God’s glory to be revealed. Even if that’s just in our hearts.
May God’s glory be revealed. Today, and every day…until the end of world really is upon us.
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
For Podcast versions of my posts, please check out Patreon! It’s only $2 a month!! You make this blog possible 🙂
MAGIC TOOTHPASTE? Yes! I am in love with this superior whitening toothpaste. It keeps my smile sparkling, without sensitivity or bleach! I made a website where you can directly order this miracle product! So if you want to give it a try, you can go ahead and grab a tube for yourself. I promise, your smile will thank you!Get a tube!
Be sure to check out my affiliate, Audible. Listening to audiobooks while I cook is literally my new favorite thing. And just for you, they’re offering a Free 30-Day Trial Membership. And with this free membership, you’re going to get 2 free audiobooks! Literally. Free. It is the best deal ever. And if for some reason, you decide it’s not for you, you can cancel within those 30 days and it’s zero money out of your pocket, plus, you get to keep the 2 audiobooks. Soooo…it’s pretty much a no brainer. Plus, it’s a free and easy way to support this blog! So thank you!!
@beauty.beyond.bones – Instagram
And really quickly, I’ve had several questions concerning my Amazon link (amazon.com/shop/beautybeyondbones) — You do not need to buy one of my specific highlighted products on my page, in order for it to “credit” my account. Any purchases that you search or make from anywhere on Amazon, after first visiting my Amazon page, will credit this blog and help support this blog ministry. I am truly so grateful and appreciative to those of you wanting to do so! So thank you! Again, it is an absolutely free, and easy way for you to help keep this blog going!