Can A Country Fix Itself? (Part One)

Can society fix itself? Can culture become better? Will there be world economic stability through politics?

The Bible says no.

The solution is the grace taught by Jesus. You cannot earn grace; it is given by confession. The systems of the world prefer their own solutions. Political solutions don’t work. Ecclesiastes 1:9 says, “There is nothing new under the sun.”

It’s all been tried and failed. Grace is giving up and turning to God.

In 1992, I entered Russia for the first time. My wife and I had traveled to Sweden and joined a Swedish pastor and his team who had a bus filled with food and clothing. Who needed the food and clothing?

Russia – victim of the grandest attempt to fix society’s woes in history. Atheism expressed through Russian socialism attempted a new world order.

Our bus was loaded onto a ferry in Stockholm, and after an all-night trip, we arrived in Helsinki, then traveled across Finland to the Russian border.

Before we drove the bus across the border, our Swedish pastor/leader said, “We will stop at a small grocery store to get what we need for the next two weeks.” My thoughts were, “What, we have to take our food into Russia?! I thought Russia was the humanistic land of plenty?”

While in the store, I encountered two ladies having just come out of Russia.

They had arms filled with Diet Coke, snack cakes, meat, cheese, bread, and mustard. Acting like vagabonds straggling out of a food desert, one of them looked at me and said, “What was I thinking, visiting Russia on vacation?”

After waiting hours in a bus and car queue at the border checkpoint, our bus entered Russia. A half-mile from the border, a soldier with an AK-47 stepped in front of our bus, waved the gun, and indicated that we were to stop.

We stopped.

Okay, I was from Springfield, Ohio. This was my first time on an international trip. At that moment, “What was I thinking coming to Russia?” The soldier stepped onto our bus with his AK-47 and asked, “Do you have any vodka?”

We did not, but we gave him food. He thanked us and said that the food was worth more than vodka.

After our “border incident” we traveled for miles through the forsaken landscape (Finland had beautiful cottages and grocery stores). A few miles further into Russia the houses were falling apart, and evidently had no vodka to quell the frustration!

Before we stopped for the evening, our bus drove by a tank wasteland. Looking out the window, I saw hundreds of tanks all lined up ready to invade the west. I remember the “Russian Menace” taught to us in grade school and hiding under our desks for the yearly nuclear attack drill.

The tanks weren’t going anywhere. Rusting, many cannibalized for parts, others under bedraggled tarps, I thought, “Why was Europe afraid of invasion?”

God spoke to me at the end of my first day in Russia. He said, “Anything not founded upon My Word has within itself the seeds of its own destruction.” Countries, cultures, our nation, and the world, with failed after failed attempt to reconcile, bring economic equality, and find peace – throughout history – find only futility.

There is nothing new under the sun. Having sown seeds of destruction again and again, the world needs Jesus.


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