The Day My World Ended
As she glorified herself and lived in luxury, so give her a like measure of torment and mourning, since in her heart she says, “I sit as a queen, I am no widow, and mourning I shall never see.” For this reason her plagues will come in a single day, death and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her. Revelation 18:7-8
If you’d have told me 25 years ago that I’d one day lose my job due to my drug addiction, I’d have told you that you were insane. I was Christian and, in my mind, Christians didn’t struggle with such things. As you well know, it did happen though. Fifteen years later, after a gradual spiral of self-indulgent and self-destructive behavior, my life came apart one day in September of 2014. One day, I was an ER physician, earning a good salary, and a couple of days later, I was in treatment, asking if I could have my snack bin. The answer was “No”. I couldn’t have my snack bin because I’d missed snack bin time by 2 minutes. In a single day, my life was turned upside down as my family and career teetered on the brink of absolute disaster.
The cause of my calamity didn’t consist of just one day though. It only took one day for it to all come apart. The root cause was 15 years of doing whatever I wanted. As I said, I was a Christian – I claimed to follow Christ. But the truth was, I lived for me and my appetite. I flaunted it, telling myself I could get away with it. Yes, I comprehended the possible repercussions of my behavior, but I told myself I was smart enough and important enough to avoid consequences. I’m a physician. I can do what I want. God will forgive me, and man can’t touch me. I was an arrogant fool.
This is the message of today’s passage. In it, John recorded the words from heaven describing Babylon, the metaphorical representation of those who’ve spent their lives rebelling against God, living their own way. She – Babylon – tells herself that she’s invincible, that she can do as she pleases forever. She is however, mistaken. One day, God will say, “Enough”. And then her day of terrible judgment will come, just as mine did.
Looking back, it was a blessing for me to have my day of reckoning when I did. I got the opportunity to begin a new life, finding a faith that means abandoning my way for God’s. It would have been a far worse fate if I’d have been able to escape consequences in this life, only to face them in the next.