On a human level, it has been overwhelming.
Nothing hinders God from redeeming souls; that whole issue is firmly under His control. The context of this discussion never included a worry that folks would end up in Hell because of the problems we face. Further, we have been warned repeatedly in the Bible that we should expect things to get worse as time drags painfully to the final conclusion, an end for which no living human can predict the timing. Religion isn’t about saving souls but laying claim to what comes with salvation. Religion is a human response to a move of His Spirit resurrecting our dead spirits. God’s finger has written into our convictions this one urge: We seek His glory.
The means to that glory is a broad series of tactical questions. The ultimate nature of our warfare is internal. The awareness alone is the flag of victory, so it’s not a question of whether we will win. Once our awareness is awakened; that battle is over. What lies in front of us is the urge to occupy the territory already won. Our problem is not with Creation or the natural world around us, but our fallen nature internally. Nature is just fine; we have to drag our accursed flesh into its place in nature. We have to merge ourselves into the created order, conform to the moral character of God woven into reality.
This is the shape of that nameless and restless urge that drives us until we die. We are bringing to life the Master’s Law in a land that was separated from Him; our souls are that land.
But the undeniable fact of reality is that, as we progress in that mission, God’s glory breaks down resistance in the world around us. If I stand for His divine justice in my soul, the very fabric of reality in my physical home changes. It won’t change the polarity of the electrons in my physical environment, but it adds a presence that was missing and sorely needed. The results would never be so absolute as meets human tests of reason, but very real nonetheless. Satan’s lies begin to lose their grip in the physical vicinity of my residence. Most of the time, that means I’ll be the only one to perceive the change, but often enough it will bring a change others can detect.
The grass outside my window will be greener as an objective fact because I commune with that grass more consistently on the terms my Creator intended. Natural disasters are more likely to pass over us without striking. People who are serious threats to social stability will be more likely to change or be unable to stay. The charged atmosphere of divine justice will change the resonance of the very atmosphere itself. People who reach out to embrace me as kindred souls will receive a share of those things God pours into my life.
If I entangle myself in all those trappings, it will die. If I can keep my eye on the goal of steadily growing in grace, those things will take root and live. Don’t get lost in the context. It is fungible and God can rewrite reality itself on-the-fly. There’s no doubt some of His blessings will be unexpected. My flesh will still tend to register surprises as a bad thing, but my heart knows that the real problem is my expectations, not what God does in comparison to them. I’m training my brain to follow my heart.
I hope you don’t get tired of hearing about how Western Civilization has become the epitome of all that Satan desires to keep us enslaved to his lies. Look around you. This shit is pervasive, a poison that has seeped into everything. How do you oppose a lie that everyone else believes without even being aware that they believe it? A lie so powerful that our natural allies — other Christians — reject us as a threat to their faith? The vast layer of our world’s unconscious assumptions about life itself has turned them against us.
You can use whatever labels you like: neo-cons, bureaucracy, middle-class, materialistic, dehumanized, etc. They are all just single facets on a huge stone of offense. It’s all aimed at killing the connection between the mind and the heart. It’s an attempt to make it impossible to restore that link. Nothing Satan can do is allowed to prevent the heart from awakening; his job is to keep us from connecting to its power. Western Civilization is his greatest achievement in making sure there is no room for such things in human awareness.
But our greatest weapon against that is simply our endeavor to restore it. The mere act of living by the heart softens that massive stone and chips away at its face. So when they try to crush us under the stone, the stone itself is threatened.
Imagine this scene: You are brought before a tribunal of justice for some reason. It is not the justice of God by any means, but some vengeance for offending a very perverted system. Don’t expect any sympathy from the judge. Judges do not get to their position by bucking the system. If the bureaucracy cannot trust this person to represent the perverted values of the soulless system, that person will never be allowed to wear those black robes. The lawyers, guards — everyone in that system has already proven their loyalty to the bureaucracy. Failure to cower will be taken officially as an insult to the system should it turn against you. Never mind whether your mind is pleased with the results of some particular case, the system itself is a lie. God can steer human activities on His own whim, but your escape will be His blessing, not some imaginary justice from the courts. Be gracious and at peace because that’s your only real defense.
And any vestige of belief that the courts are somehow good as protection against evil chaos just shows how far you have to go. The courts are a form of moral chaos in themselves. God’s divine character is excluded by virtue of having been redefined in defiance of His revelation. They imagine they do God’s work but they don’t know Him and would recoil in horror if He ever showed Himself. Theirs is a fig leaf covering from His wrath. Oddly, our heart-led existence in prison would easily find a far more open mission field than in many parts of the world outside such places. Our truth is the answer everyone else is seeking, and the sort of conflict with society that puts people in prison often arises from a sense that things simply are not right, but with no idea how to fix it.
The miracle is that we ourselves have found the path to sanity and peace.