The Attention of Youth is Demanded……..
We are rapidly becoming accustomed to the fact that war rages in the world today. Technically we are not at war with any nation, and, consequently we are able to avoid for the present, at least, the pain, the sorrow and the distress that direct, armed participation carries with it. This latter also explains the possibility of our indifference. Nevertheless, we are forced to take cognizance of this struggle. Both the character and the scope of this conflict prevent us from ignoring its reality and its implications.
The character of this war can be determined somewhat from the sentiment expressed by Adolph Hitler in a recent speech. He said in effect that “at present there are two worlds that stand opposed to each other, the world of the “have-nots” and the “haves”, the totalitarian world and the world of the democracies. With the democratic world, we can never reconcile ourselves.” It is therefore plain that more than territorial ambition is at stake in this conflict. It is also a conflict of principles, basic ideas. And as Reformed Youth you can never ignore a battle of opposed ideologies.
Still more concrete is the scope and extent of this war. Geographically it is reaching into Asia, Asia Minor, Africa and Europe. From our American point of view the main contestants are Great Britain and Germany. We are more concerned with happenings in these two countries than we are with the events taking place in Italy and Greece, in China and Japan, or in and around Egypt and Ethiopia. This gigantic struggle approaches us in various ways. In our modern, interdependent world the parts very definitely affect the whole.
The increasing severity of this international, world-wide conflict renders this situation still more acute. All “experts” agree that an “all-out” Spring offensive is to be expected in Europe wherein Germany and her allies will exert themselves to the limit to crush the British empire. In fact, it is possible that this Spring offensive is well under way when these lines appear in print. We have heard rumblings from the Orient of late, causing us no little concern as to the security of our position in the Pacific. Our President, Mr. F. D. Roosevelt, summed up his view of the danger of the present day for America when he said, “Never before, since Jamestown and Plymouth Rock, has our American civilization been in such danger as now. . . . This unholy alliance of the axis rowers aims at a program of world control.”
Certainly, we as American youth must be concerned about this war. On the basis of the above we cannot pursue an ostrich-like policy, hiding our heads in the sand to avoid reality. Our attention is demanded!
Youth is Affected in Many Respects….
Our thinking is perhaps first of all affected by this war. By means of radio, press, and pulpit this thing is constantly brought before our attention. The chief topic of conversation has shifted from a consideration of the weather and its consequences to a discussion about some phase of the war. Meanwhile we are besieged with pro-British propaganda, all of which colors our opinions to a large extent. Sympathy and antipathy is aroused. Our atmosphere is charged with the currents and cross-currents of inter¬national strife.
Youth is affected still more particularly, however, by our own national program for defense. Now that we are awakening out of our lethargy, millions upon millions of dollars are being spent to prepare ourselves in the event of actual combat. This program calls for an enlarged army and navy, and increased production of war materials. Both of these phases of our national defense directly involve our youth. Our young men and women are called upon to work in our large industries. Our young men are commanded to shoulder arms for their country. Then there is the unpleasant truth that if war should actually mean armed participation by soldiers of America, our young men, the “flower of the nation”, will be obligated to sacrifice their very lives if need be, on the battle-fields. War means exactly that.
But, you say, at present we are not required to fight, nor to suffer and die as if we were actually participating. And what is more, our government promises to do all in its power to avoid bloodshed. Yes, that much is true. Nevertheless, we all must agree that our present “aid-to-Britain” policy is extremely dangerous. Reality is that war may be entered upon at any moment. Of course, we all hope that this may never happen, yet we must not comfort ourselves with false illusions. This present struggle is of such a character and so tremendous in scope that we cannot help but be affected in many ways. Let us then be wide awake to the implications and possibilities of this war.
Youth will Share in the Aftermath of the It. . .
That this war will produce great changes in the world as we know it today is quite generally maintained by students of political and economic science. In event of a totalitarian victory the results that will follow are easy to imagine. Germany and Russia under Hitler and Stalin furnish us with excellent examples upon the basis of which we can readily visualize the changes that will take place in countries conquered by these powers. Should Britain survive, the old order will nevertheless suffer change. Democracy and capitalism as exemplified by the English is believed to have seen its day. Far reaching changes are in store, and these changes will affect youth. New problems will have to be faced, in a certain sense a new world will make its appearance, and a new period in the history of mankind will be realized. And although these changes may begin in Europe or in any other part of the world. America will certainly be affected.
This aftermath will also carry disease, famine, depression, both physical and financial, and other dire consequences along with it. These things invariably accompany war. And they too will embrace America, even though we should be able to avoid actual combat.
These consequences are of tremendous importance for youth. They will affect youth in respect to their jobs and their conceptions: they will change the picture of their entire life. The old generation will die out, but it remains for youth to carry on.
Our Youth should View this all as a Sign of the Times. . . .
Whatever the future may have in store for us as Christian, Reformed youth we must view this war as one more “sign of the times”. For us the future is not an unknown quantity. We know that the Lord will bring judgment upon the nations by means of wars and rumors of wars. And even though the purpose in the minds of the warring nations is to establish, their way of thinking and their way of life by means of force, God uses such means to realize the purposes of His sovereign good pleasure.
Youth is idealistic. Nevertheless, in times such as these it is well that we take a realistic view of the facts in the present situation. For one thing, it is increasingly evident that the world is being swept along toward that new order termed in Scripture as “the kingdom of Anti-Christ’. Also, the fact that peace will erelong be established between the nations does not mean that peace is in store for the Church of Jesus Christ on earth. Let us not entertain false, deceptive notions unawares. The concentration camps, the secret police or “Gestapo” as they are called, as existing today in Germany and Russia, are only beginnings of worse things to come. For it is the plain testimony of Scripture that the last
days before the end will be filled with tribulation for the people of God.
Shall we stand? Only if we heed the call to equip ourselves with the whole armor of God, preparing ourselves spiritually to wage that spiritual warfare that can only result in victory. That demands recognition of the seriousness of our calling. Still more, that demands that we always remember that our God rules over all. that His counsel must be fulfilled, and that the final climax of all things will take place at the glorious return of Christ to redeem us forever from the powers of iniquity. On the basis of such faith we can be optimistic in the midst of a chaotic world, knowing that we are of Christ, and that Christ is King forevermore.