The New Millennium

  Every kind of disaster had been forecast: airplanes out of control, computer glitches that would bring banking and commerce to a halt. People everywhere stocked up on canned goods and bottled water, just in case. And what happened? Absolutely nothing. As the New Year came and went in cities around the Globe, we suddenly realized that traffic lights still glowed, cars were moving, and airplanes remained airborne. The glitches that did happen were fewer than normal, and apparently none attributable to Y2K. We can all be grateful that responsible preparations were made and that nothing disastrous occurred. But many people, including a lot of Christians, saw this as a time of panic, and bought into a variety of apocalyptic scenarios. Y2K kits were offered for sale, and even thoughtful people considered moving to the country. None of it happened, of course, and now the only lingering business to take care of is that those who made such extreme predictions have a lot of explaining to do to their followers. There ought to be some embarrassment that so many sounded so silly at times. But the greatest risk of this collective sigh of relief we're hearing may be the temptation to say, "Aha! Nothing happened. We are the masters of our own fate and the captains of our souls. We control the machines. We control the world and its prosperity. So eat, drink, and be merry! All this talk of apocalypse has proved foolish once again, so we can go on as if nothing will ever happen." The problem, however, is that, while Jesus did not return—and those who said he would, I believe, were foolish, because the Bible says that "No man knows the day or the hour [of Christ's return]"—the truth of the matter is that one day He will return. In all the euphoria of our Y2K reprieve, we must not let anything distract us from this ever-present reality. As Christians, we are a community of eschatological expectation—which is a theological way of saying that we live each day joyously waiting for the return of our Lord. Indeed, there are signs that Christ's coming may be soon: The rebirth of the nation of Israel, increases in natural disasters, and the upsurge in New Age religions. Even though we have escaped the dire prophecies of Y2K, we must not allow ourselves to trivialize the signs that we do see. Despite our expectations of disaster, the Millennium came and went without a whimper. But now the question on everyone's mind is the one I ask in my new book: How Now Shall We Live? For the Christian, the answer must be to live in the constant expectation of the Second Coming of our Lord, as He promised. We should be as prepared for it each day as when the whole world braced for apocalypse on New Year's Eve. As C. S. Lewis once said, when our Lord does return, it doesn't matter whether we're engaged in a great crusade to eliminate slavery or tending the pigs. The important thing is that we be found at our posts. Y2K has come and gone. The world is still here. And my exhortation to Christians: "Be at your post."


Chuck Colson


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