In our darkest hour, we find our brightest hope
There are times when I cannot read or listen to, the news. It’s too depressing. High government officials are defying the law. Judges are making absurd rulings. Major tech companies are becoming de facto governments of their own, violating the rights of citizens. In some respects, the nation seems like a madhouse. When will sanity be restored?
Whenever I begin to get overwhelmed by the seeming hopelessness of it all, I can always crack open a book that I came across some years ago in a used-book store. The author is Harold Rugg, the copyright is 1937. The opening and closing chapters concern current events of the era. The perspective is that of historians living then, who are engulfed in world events that will eventually lead to the Second World War—but for those living in the times, there is no end in sight. Mighty dictatorships are swarming the globe, not only Hitler, Hirohito and Mussolini, but also Stalin, Chiang-Kai Shek, and Franco. The questions loomed large: is democracy doomed? Is the future dark?
While reading the book, you can imagine, with just a little effort, that you are there and then, caught up in the overwhelming crises of the day, with wave after wave of bad news coming at you. A devastating Great War (World War I) has recently ended. The memories of gas attacks are fresh. Widows, orphans, and veterans with ghastly wounds populate sidewalks and alleyways. The fear is that as nations enter into an arms race, another massive war might erupt. Movies of the time depict (and predict) that armadas of enemy bombers will crush major American cities.
We know now that a Second World War did erupt, although not exactly as feared. Two of the terrible dictators mentioned in the book (Stalin and Chiang) came in on our side, decisively, and yes, democracy was made safe for yet another generation. We know that now, but in the 1930s, the situation seemed desperate and chaotic.
Much the same can be said of today’s crises. How far will Putin go in his quest to reestablish Russia as a world power? Will Xi expand China’s aggressive posture? Will Kim Jong Un launch a Second Korean War? What about Iran’s nuclear ambitions? Can the US border with Mexico be controlled? How desperate are President Trump’s enemies, not only Democrats, but Republicans and deep state conspirators, to overthrow him?
Rugg writes, on page 678, “What will be the outcome? No one can guess how far Hitler and Mussolini will go . . . .”
History has always been fraught with seeming uncertainty, beginning in the Garden of Eden. It will always continue to be so until the day of final judgment. But we do know how it all resolves. Psalm 23 tells us. We can take comfort in that.
 Harold Rugg; Changing Governments and Changing Cultures—Democracy Versus Dictatorship: The World Struggle; Ginn and Company; The Athenaeum Press; Boston; Copyright 1937