By Tom Wacaster
Dick Feller wrote the lyrics to a rather popular country and western song by the same title as this week’s article. There are three stanzas in the song, each depicting a hypothetical situation, and the reaction of those who found themselves in, well, a “bad situation.” The second stanza depicts a man who is an alligator wrestler. On one occasion he had an alligator in a “full Nelson,” when this other alligator sneaks up and bites his ear plumb off. The man did not complain in the least; just crawled off and went to sleep (the man, not the alligator). Shortly thereafter someone commented: “Sure too bad about that little accident that you had, ‘cause now your hat’s gonna fall down over your eyes, and you can’t ever be a gypsy ‘cause you don’t have no place to wear a gold earring.” The alligator wrestler just looked him in the eye and said, “Huh?” [you’ll have to think about that a while to get the point]. The third stanza presents a situation where a lady had a husband who had worked so hard that he snapped; he thought he was a chicken! “That’s right; one of those cackling Colonel Sanders’ types. He roosts in the bush by the side of the house.” Well, one day someone asked, “Have you ever thought about findin’ him a doctor who could make him well?” To which the lady responded: “Well, I have now and then, but then again, he don’t eat much; just chicken feed. And all that peckin’ in the ground don’t hurt nothing’ and besides, we can use the eggs!” At the end of each scenario the chorus sings: “I guess he’s/she’s makin’ the best of a bad situation, don’t wanna make waves, can’t you see! Reckon I’d do the same if it was me.”
The daily news reminds us that life is filled with “bad situations.” In many cases there is simply nothing a sane or sensible person can do. This year is another election year. Unfortunately, like any election year, it is also a leap year, so we get a full twenty-four extra hours to put up with the political ads and media nonsense that come around every four years. Had you asked me twenty years ago to predict what election year 2016 might look like, I could never have imagined anything close to what we are seeing play out on the full sized screen called life’s realities! In one party we have a full blown, card-carrying, bombastic socialist who is winning the hearts and minds of his fellow democrats. Just ten years ago this man was considered the fringe edge of politics. In the other party, that “grand-0ld-party” as it is sometimes called, we have a bombastic, vulgar mouthed, mogul real estate wheeler and dealer who, prior to this point in time, has never held an office or engaged himself in any kind of conservative political crusade. Should both of these candidates win their party’s nomination, I think I can safely say, we have a “bad situation” that can, and probably will, only get worse.
On February 13th one of the conservative judges on the United States Supreme Court, Anonin Scalia, died of natural causes. With a liberal President, whose nominations up to this point in his Presidency have been nothing but liberal, we can expect the next appointee to be of the same cut and mold as the others, and along with it a dramatic shift in the nature of the highest court in the land. Should that happen, abortion will become permanently enshrined in our nation’s fabric, and any hope of overturning the inexcusable decision regarding homosexual marriages by the Supreme Court will fly out the window. The high court of our nation has already demonstrated, on repeated occasions, that it has no regard for God’s word or will in social matters. It is a bad situation that will only get worse.
We could multiply examples that indicate a continual downward spiral of this nation, morally, politically, and socially. The question each of us needs to entertain is how we are going to react to all of this? Will we give up, throw in the proverbial towel, and simply go along in order to get along? Or will we exercise what rights we still have left to change the bad situations that might come our way? And even if in the process of attempting to correct the wrong, should we fail, at least we will have failed doing all within our power to correct the wrongs that confront us.
The time may very well have come for God’s judgment to reign down upon this nation. It may have already started. As God’s children we can rest assured that, come what may, God will protect us, comfort us, and deliver us through it all. The danger (and challenge) that faces us as God’s children is whether or not we will remain faithful to our calling. The choice is yours and mine. Will we capitulate to the temptations the devil throws at us to give up? Or will we, like all the faithful of bygone generations, make the best of a bad situation and remain faithful to our God in the face of adversity?
Robert Ingersol, renowned atheist of the 19th century, gave the skeptic’s answer to the grave at his brother’s graveside. President Garfield, one of the pallbearers was present, and said that Ingersol broke down and cried like a baby in the delivery of that speech. Among other things, here is what the atheist said: “Whether in mid-ocean, or amidst the breakers of the farther shore, a wreck must mark the end of each and all. Though every hour is rich with love, and every moment is jeweled with a joy, it will at its close be a tragedy as deep and dark as can be woven of the warp and woof of mystery and death. Life is a narrow vale between the cold and barren peaks of two eternities; we strive in vain to look beyond the heights; we cry aloud, and the only answer is our wailing cry. From the voiceless lips of the unreplying dead there comes no word.” What despair! I am grateful that Jesus has “abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10b). How much better it is to be able to say with the apostle Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only but to all them that have loved his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:7-8). What an amazing contrast between the philosophies of men and the Grand Book, the Bible!
I am glad that we have the Bible, the “lamp unto our feet and light unto our path” (Psa. 119:105). The Bible is, without doubt, the greatest book ever written. Consisting of 66 books, it stands as a monumental representation of heaven’s love for mankind. From the moment that God’s word has gone forth to man, Satan has scrutinized, criticized, de-emphasized and sought to minimize the Holy word. Critics have assailed its “contradictions” and “inconsistencies.” But the honest seeker knows that all such attempts to find fault with Scripture are mere subterfuge, and a whistling in the wind. The Bible has survived the onslaught of critics, and the more scrutiny and examination the Bible receives, the more it shines. A few years ago brother Cates wrote the following: “No book has ever been scrutinized so closely or vigorously, and, I might say, viciously. The microscope and the telescope of man have been applied to ‘the Book of books,’ but the more close the investigation and the more detailed the study, the more beautiful its fabric. The productions of men undergo but a mere fraction of a fraction of such investigation; they are examined, riffled through, and somewhat rigorously tested at the mercy of mankind; and such results in their complete exhaustion and abandonment. Man moves on to other thoughts, other pursuits, and other works. Now, why does the Bible multiply in its beauty and complexity [as a snowflake or a butterfly wing under a microscope] as its innermost thoughts, precepts and principles are dissected and scrutinized? That, my friend, is he difference between the meager and fallible works of finite man and the inexhaustible and vibrant revelation of the infinite Creator” (Curtis Cates).