4For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment;…-9if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment. 10This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh and despise authority. (2 Peter 2:4-10, The Jesus Bible)
Happy Wednesday Family. A dear brother in Christ had sent me the above verses from 2 Peter and the last sentence really called out to me as I am coming off a weekend of seeing the corrupt desires of the flesh played out in front of me. Orange Crush returned to the tiny coastal island of Tybee this past weekend. After a two year hiatus due to COVID and the main party being moved to Jacksonville Beach, this return was marketed as the main return of the unofficial “Beach Bash” of students from “Historically Black Colleges and Universities” (HBCU). This marked the first Spring Break hotspot for me to work as a member of Law Enforcement, the first time I experienced Orange Crush, and the first time in over two decades that I found myself at the center of a college Spring Break festival.
Maybe I am just getting older, or maybe it is that I found my way back to the Lord, but my night working downtown was just filled with disappointment in the youth of America, and wondering how society has grown more and more deplorable. I had to remind myself that I was once these kids’ age, I had once sought to put myself in the middle of such debauchery.
When I was 18, recently finding the freedom of being able to make my own mistakes, I made my way to Daytona Beach in the midst of college spring break celebrations. Hundreds of people. Young women dancing and gyratting on young men in the middle of the streets. Underage drinking. Illegal drug use. I experienced it once, decided it was not for me, and never returned to the spring break hotspots again. Now, fast forward 24-years (boy, I am old), and here I was in the midst of one of the most popular spring break festivals, experiencing it from a completely different perspective, as that of one as a law enforcement officer.
Savannah Police Department was vastly outnumbered. As was Tybee Island PD. The article linked above stated there were 40 sworn officers for an estimated 50,000 people on the small barrier island. That is insanity. And while there was a good bit of unruliness: fights breaking out, kids hanging out of car windows as they sped down the roads, plenty of illegal drug use and even more underage drinking, our goal was protecting the sanctity of life and the businesses throughout the historic district. For all the thousands of people, there was only one instance of gunfire in that heavy crowd of drinking, and thanks only to the grace of God, only one person was hit by the gunfire (and that was just a graze-but it was a graze to his head, so inches to another direction would have left the young man seriously injured. Or dead.). The epicenter of the gunfire was a spectacle in itself, as the intersection was littered with drink cups, shoes, purses, phones, car keys, and everything else that was not secure on each person as they fled the sound of gunfire.
So, I guess I can take solace in the Bible verses above, where Peter writes that God will “hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment”, or I could hold onto the faith and hope that HERE and NOW, we faithful Christians, can get out and be the change this world desperately needs. Instead of being the condescending judge, I want to be the welcoming arms that these prodigal sons and daughters come running home to, because I was once that prodigal myself. I still believe that revival is within reach, that we can turn the tide in one generation, if we stop focusing on judgment and instead focus on love and grace, you know those two things that were the most important to Jesus, the Father of our faith.
We have a lot of work to do, but the biggest victory we constantly give to the devil is that we let the work seem so overwhelming, we do absolutely nothing. All we have to do is something, just a little something. We serve the God of the Living: living hope, living salvation, living redemption. Let’s get out and do some living ourselves, and live to see the light of revival lit across our nation once again.