Usually when a narrative begins this way it means you are reading a children’s story, and the event in question happened a long time ago. Occasionally the phrase relates to something that happened in the past and you are sad that the “something” no longer happens.
For example, today the media and certain other political hacks might write:
Once upon a time there was no racism on the earth, and all people’s lived in harmony and unity regardless of skin color or language or religious beliefs or economic status or educational background.
But both my heart and my mind tell me this is total fiction. Never since the garden of Eden has there been two people or two million people who behaved in the fictional setting just described.
Racism has been alive and well in various forms since the beginning of time. History proves it, just read a book. Racism along with all its contemptuous consequences has been with us since the dawn of time.
No, this doesn’t make it right. Racism is morally wrong, and at our core we know this, because God created us with the innate understanding of how wrong it is. But even if God hadn’t designed us with the ability to make this distinction, we do know that because of what Adam and Eve did we all now have the “knowledge to the tree of good and evil.” The very fact that we have this knowledge means there is no justification for racism.
However, let me be clear. Racism is not the main systemic problem in the United States today, or around the world.
Today, as the insidious nature of the knowledge of evil has made its way to the streets of our cities, looters and rioters have found their voice and true self, hurling rocks, bricks, and Molotov cocktails through store windows. These revelers acting out the evil have taken lives. Some of them black lives. Even while their nearby protestor friends carry signs that say “Black Lives Matter” they pillage and plunder. While the pundits continue to pontificate, “once upon a time …” and what comes trickling out of those evil mouths is pure fiction.
The mayhem of the last two weeks is not about systemic racism. The pandemonium seen nightly in the streets is about taking down a government. The evil behind these protestors – turned rioters – turned killers – has an agenda which results in the decimation of the United States as a nation. This evil is aimed at destroying what was just a few months ago a burgeoning economy. This evil is 100% committed to annihilate Christianity, Islam, or Orthodoxy of any kind in America. They are an equal-opportunity hate-filled group. Fathers, sons, daughters, mothers, beware. If they have come this far, if not stopped, they are coming for you.
Now stop. I know one of the popular phrases in the protestor signs is “I can’t breathe.”
But that isn’t true either is it? Just stop it and think. If you aren’t breathing, you’re dead. Dead people don’t carry signs that read “I can’t breathe.” George Floyd said this because he was dying. If you are carrying a sign, you aren’t dying, you are protesting his death. And you have every right to do that. This isn’t the problem either.
When you have black people schooling white people on why they shouldn’t be destroying public property or private businesses, then we are no longer in the land of “once upon a time…”
Some people think what I’m about to say is the equivalent of “once upon a time…” maybe because I’ve shouted it like a mantra for years now. Just because I’ve repeated it over and over and over in these blogs… doesn’t make it any less true. So, here it is.
The systemic problem in our country and our world today is that we have wandered so far off the beaten path of believing God is in control. For example, there are those with no faith who will say, “How could the God who loves mankind allow these atrocities to be happening?” Others will say, “Maybe God is out there somewhere, but He seems to have turned His back on us, and we’re on our own.” Still others will say, “God is more like an official observer, not a referee, or enforcer.” And on and on it goes with any number of reasons why God is definitely not in control of what happens in our world.
So, what to do? Now it’s my turn.
“Once upon a time”, and I remember this time like it was yesterday, when crisis came to a person’s world instead of picking up bricks, people picked up bibles. And instead of running into stores grabbing whatever they could carry out in their own strength, they ran into places of worship and got down on their knees to pray. They searched the bible for direction, and they prayed to the LORD for answers, because they believed God was still in Control.
Well, God IS still in control. Even when people don’t believe it today… even so-called people of faith.
What will be our future? Today, tomorrow, next year, or 20 years? Will we even still be here?
I don’t know. But I know I’m reading my bible today, and I’m praying for God’s wisdom and answers about how to live…
Today… not “once upon a time.”