Malcolm Muggeridge was an English journalist as well as a soldier and spy during World War II. It was later in life that he began to write about Christianity and his personal faith. His fascinating life story is summarized on Wikipedia, but his own synopsis of the times is provided below. As we consider his words, may we also consider our own place in history.
“We look back upon history and what do we see? Empires rising and falling, revolutions and counter-revolutions, wealth accumulating and wealth dispersed, one nation dominant and then another. Shakespeare speaks of ‘the rise and fall of great ones that ebb and flow with the moon.’”
“I look back on my own fellow countrymen ruling over a quarter of the world, the great majority of them convinced, in the words of what is still a favorite song, that, ‘God who’s made the mighty would make them mightier yet.’ I’ve heard a crazed, cracked Austrian announce to the world the establishment of a German Reich that would last a thousand years; an Italian clown announce that he would restart the calendar to begin his own ascension to power. I’ve heard a murderous Georgian brigand in the Kremlin acclaimed by the intellectual elite of the world as a wiser than Solomon, more humane than Marcus Aurelius, more enlightened than Ashoka. I’ve seen America wealthier and in terms of weaponry, more powerful than the rest of the world put together, so that had the American people wished, could have outdone an Alexander or a Julius Caesar in the range and scale of their conquests.”
“All in one lifetime. All in one lifetime. All gone with the wind. England part of a tiny island off the coast of Europe, threatened with dismemberment and even bankruptcy. Hitler and Mussolini dead, remembered only in infamy. Stalin a forbidden name in the regime he helped found and dominate for some three decades. America haunted by fears of running out of those precious fluids that keep her motorways roaring, and the smog settling, with troubled memories of a disastrous campaign in Vietnam, and the victories of the Don Quixotes of the media as they charged the windmills of Watergate.”
“All in one lifetime, all gone. Gone with the wind.”
–Malcolm Muggeridge, 1980*
In the Holy Scriptures, we are told why our lives have been particularly located within specific boundaries of space and time.
“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us…” Acts 17:24-27
The God who transcends boundaries of space and time is closer to us than we might ever imagine. If a two-dimensional character on paper could become conscious, he could never see beyond the page to realize that a you could see him in his entirety. Likewise, the Creator of all dimensionality, those which are seen and those that are not seen, has his purposes. Seek Him to know yours.
*Malcom Muggeridge, “But Not of Christ,” Seeing Through the Eye: Malcolm Muggeridge on Faith, ed. Cecil Kuhne (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2005), 29-30.