John Piper on the Best of Times, the Worst of Times
John Piper recently spoke about how we as Christians should respond to the times in which we find ourselves. I especially appreciated his four take aways about how to live in a day like ours. Rather than despairing about the difficulties, or remaining blissfully ignorant of them, we’re to trust that God is sovereignly at work in both the good and bad, and to seek to be salt and light in the places He’s put us.
As God raised up Esther for just such a time as hers (Esther 4:14), I’m convinced He’s raised us up for this time, to be a witness for Christ and to bring the Good News of great joy to those around the world.
This Is the Best of Times, And the Worst of Times
Perhaps this is true at every point in the history of a God-ruled, sin-pervaded world. It was true in 1859, and it is true today.
Charles Dickens wrote The Tale of Two Cities in 1859. It begins,
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way — in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
He was referring to 1775, the time of the French Revolution. But his point was that period was like the present period in 1859. In the mid-nineteenth century, “it was the best of times and the worst of times.”
In 1859 Charles Spurgeon was 25 years old, George Müller was 54, Hudson Taylor was 27. And Charles Darwin was 50 years old, John Stuart Mill was 53, and Friedrich Nietzsche was 15.