These are strange times indeed, my friend.
Perhaps, Charles Dickens penning the beginning paragraph of a "Tale of Two Cities" said it best in describing a turning point.
"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..."
And, while those words written by Dickens in 1859 were a historical epitaph of a time leading up to the French Revolution with the cities of London and Paris in the throes of it all, isn't it odd that they seem rather relevant today?
Here we are in an age of unprecedented knowledge, technology, wealth (the best of times) when a disease so widespread and so devastating came knocking at our doors (the worst of times).
Even the 1918 Spanish Flu that served as a benchmark for America's worst pandemic with 675,000 deaths over a two-year period, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is starting to pale in comparison to COVID's almost 782,000 deaths in the U.S. alone. And, when will it stop as new variants are springing up all the time?
Yes, like Dickens' tale, it would seem as if we are at war, not with a king and queen, but with a "pestilence that walks in darkness" (Psalms 91) that has spread to the entire world. And, in so many ways it still seems like a dream, an impossibility that the life we knew just two years ago could have changed so dramatically.
And, much like "A Tale of Two Cities" that leads readers up to the French Revolution, could it be that society has been steamrolling to these moments of best and worst times in the past 100 years or so?
Did you know that 100 years ago the planet had about 2 billion people living on it and today we are roughly at 7.8 billion (Wikipedia statistics)? Two hundred years ago the world population was at about one billion and so we have increased seven fold in just the past two centuries. Never in all world history have this many people existed at one time.
And, just look at the advancements. Quite literally, people were riding horses 100 years ago (even though Model T's were becoming available) like they did for every century before them. Now, we are riding through the air in jets and driving horseless carriages with air conditioning and heating going way past the 55 miles per hour speed limits of decades before. We are flying around the earth in more ways than one and doing business and commerce on a scale that is astounding.
Society thought the Industrial Revolution was something with coal barons growing wealth like never before but it can't hold a candle to the Technological Revolution where men like Bill Gates and Elon Musk have become billionaires several times over. In the 1970s, there were only a handful of millionaires (which was a big deal back then) and now millionaires are plentiful.
And, two technologies have changed everything - the internet and the cell phone. Kings, princes and presidents of earlier times would have no doubt paid well for such magic. All the world's knowledge at our fingertips.
And, doesn't the Bible say "many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase" Daniel 12:4? How could we not see this prophecy coming true?
So here we are at one of the most populated, most advanced periods of history and a virus so lethal is taking our loved ones and friends and it seems daily we are hearing about someone who has tested positive. We are regularly hearing about someone we knew who died from this. We are helpless in the wake of it all. It is the best and worst of times and we can only pray our faith will sustain us until the war is over.
This article originally appeared on The Daily American: Sandra Lepley column about the times