Recently I dreamt of a world rocked by tribulation. The sky was dark at midday, the stars and moon ceased shining, and signs in the heavens and a cataclysmic noise portended worse to come.
This heavenly vision of the end may seem far-fetched, but our recent struggles with coronavirus and race-related rioting show how quickly life can change. Like a dance coming to the end of its song, our comings and goings, relationships, and all our work and play can come to a screeching halt—usually in the most unexpected way.
The inevitably of life and death and the passing of time show all things must eventually end. The dance of this life will cease, along with all its pursuits,and highs and lows. Admittedly this is hard to grasp, especially when the proverbial‘sun’ shines. When things are going well, it seems like nothing will change.
Change is inevitable
The sporting world is a great example. Recently the much-hyped documentary The Last Dance explored the penultimate season of arguably the best basketball player and team to ever play the game. Their domination of the league seemed like it would last forever.
In his 6 seasons with the Bulls, Jordan and his team won 6 out of 6 championships. For an NBA team with the best basketball players on the planet, this was a feat unrivalled in the modern era!
Jordan himself won14 MVP awards, 10 scoring titles, two Olympic Gold medals and made 14 All-Star appearances. His success brought his team success. The adulation the world heaped on them in those years rivalled anything the modern sporting world has ever seen.
A dynastic end
With a run like Jordan’s and the Bulls, any outward observer would’ve laughed at the thoughtanything could threaten their success. That such a dynasty would ever end seemed unimaginable. From the first episode of the Last Dance documentary they found out just how wrong they were. All it took was one man and a very human system to end their ‘last dance’.
Not long after the opening credits we learnt that Jordan blamed general manager Jerry Krause as a big reason for the Bull’s end. The narrative portrayed Jerry as jealous of the team’s success. When Jerry told the head coach that this 6th season with Jordan’s Bulls would be his last, the writing was on the wall for thedynasty.
Jordan and the team also had their issues. Jordan’s gambling and harsh leadership brought team dysfunction and distrust to an otherwise healthy team chemistry. Accusations of leaking damaging information about each other to the press and the pressures of a sometimes-fickle media wore on everyone through the years.
After the last championship and final game of the Jordan era Bulls, Phil Jackson and the team paid homage to the ‘good old days’ for the last time. They wrote their memories on pieces of paper, threw them into a coffee can and lit a match. As the smoke rose from the can and their memories burned, suddenly the golden era was ended, the music stopped and along with it, their final dance.
An unravelling dance
Before Coronavirus and before the widespread race riots, like the Bulls we probably thought our golden dance would never end. Years of widespread prosperity, peace and political stability in Australia and the West had given us a sense of blissful security and happiness we thought was invincible.
Now sickness isn’t just a problem for poorer nations. Now race isn’t just a problem for the few. Now economic problems are touching the richest among us.
And the problems don’t stop there.
Political movements and revolutionary spirits are rising up to challenge the current world order. China and Russia are modernising their militaries and asserting their dominance across the globe. America is retreating to its devastating pre-World War I and II isolationist policies and challenging tried and tested ‘Leader-of-the-free-world’ norms.
Climate change is wreaking both hear and overseas. Our airline systems are failing along with the world’s. Terrorism still rears its head from time to time and oil prices have plummeted.
The old order is crumbling.
Our Bulls-like dance is coming to an end, because just like them, we’re human. Just like them, our successes will not shield us from the misfortunes of a sinful world.
When the music stops
One NBA playerwas so impressed with Jordan that he once called him“God”. The Bulls’ end showed he wasn’t. But there is a God in Heaven. That same God is slowly but surely bringing this world’s story, it’s historic ‘dance’, to an end.
The Bible shows that my heavenly vision of a darkened war-ravaged will one day take place. Worse tribulation than our current troubles is coming soon.
More importantly, the Bible says that one day we’ll all stand before God to give an account of how we played out this last dance of human history. And the most important thing in that day will be who our dance partner was. God will ask us whether we believed in Jesus Christ, His Son who came to die for our sins and the sins of this increasingly dark and desperate world.
Whether we accepted him or not will be the whole ball game. In that day, Heaven will await those who did, Hell those who didn’t.
There are many fires in our world today and the smoke is burning higher. But don’t mistake the importance of our present issues with the cruciality of that final one. Where will we end up when the music stops and the dance of this life comes to its inevitable and dramatic end?
While you still can.
Tim is a high school teacher in Queensland and just finished a season being a youth pastor in America. He has a passion for the gospel and for seeing lives changed by the power, person and love of Jesus Christ.
Tim Price’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/tim-price.html