March 1, 2016
I am riding the train to Union Station where I will catch the new Sky Train, or “UP Express” as it is called, to Pearson International Airport. It is a first for me, avoiding the drive, the traffic and of course, being able to work while I travel. The train has Wi-Fi, so writing this and sending it to the office, is part of the blessing of new technology.
I am generally an optimist. I believe the world is a fascinating place filled with wonder and beauty and today as I travel in comfort, while the weather rages outside, my optimism appears validated. Humanity is fallen, but since the death and resurrection of Christ, humanity has been benefiting from the power of redemption. Even those who do not presently know Christ, or are self-declared atheists, are reaping the benefits of “redemption and lift.” As redemption spreads through out the world, individuals, communities, and entire nations, are lifted out of the mire of death, disease and destruction. Sure the manifestation of fallen humanity is still evident around the globe, but compared to the darkness on the planet at the time of Christ’s birth, today is as bright as a solar flare.
There are thousands of examples that could be given to show how the quality of life has steadily improved over the last 2000 years, but it may surprise you to understand how much it has changed in the last 100 years.
- Today the average Canadian retires at 62, 100 years ago the average Canadian died at 51
- In the 1950s and 60s, women could not get a credit card, or find anything but the lowest income jobs; today women in most environments make the exact same as their male counterparts.
- In 1975 there were 9 occupational injuries or illnesses per 100 workers, today that number is less than 4
- 100 years ago, the average workday was 10 hours 6 days a week, anyone suggesting a five-day workweek would have been considered demented.
- In 1950, the average household spent 30% of its budget on food. Today, less than 13% of an average budget has to be devoted to food.
- High school graduation rates are at the highest level in 40 years.
- Traffic deaths per 100,000 people have fallen by half since the 1960s.
- The median new home today is 34% larger today than it was 25 years ago.
- 49% of new homes had air conditioning in 1973. Today, 89% do.
“Today, of Americans officially designated as ‘poor,’ 99 per cent have electricity, running water, flush toilets, and a refrigerator; 95 per cent have a television, 88 per cent a telephone, 71 per cent a car and 70 percent air conditioning. Cornelius Vanderbilt (one of the wealthiest men in American history) had none of these.”- Matt Ridley The Rational Optimist
The truth is that for all of the bad news spread daily over the airwaves, the world is safer, healthier and more advanced than any time in history. This is no accident. The redemptive power released through the sons of God is steadily changing the earth. Paul wrote these words of encouragement to the church in Romans 8:18-21:
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
As the sons of God are revealed, the world is changed. Don’t hide, let your light shine, dispel the darkness and watch creation be liberated from its bondage to decay, and invited to share with us the glorious freedom of the children of God.