What to Do in Y2K  


by Doug Ward

  The last week of 1999 was an unusual one in our little college town of Oxford, Ohio.  Since the Miami University students were home on vacation, it was very quiet in Oxford.  But there was a tension in the air as the townspeople waited expectantly for what might happen when the clock struck midnight on New Year's Eve.  Would there be a power failure, for example, or a water shortage?  The headline on the December 31, 1999 edition of the Dayton Daily News expressed the mood of many people:  WE FIND OUT TONIGHT. 

The Y2K phenomenon reminded me somehow of a book written years ago by the great Kentucky writer Jesse Stuart.  In Foretaste of Glory (1946), the inhabitants of the fictitious Appalachian town of Blakesburg, Tennessee,  look up at the sky one September evening and witness a brilliant display of  light that resembles nothing they have ever seen before.  It is the aurora  borealis (or ``northern lights'') making an appearance much further south  than usual, but the people of Blakesburg assume that these lights must be nothing other than the heavenly signs prophesied to appear immediately before the return of Jesus Christ (Matt. 24:29-31). 

Faced with the prospect of Christ's imminent return, the townspeople react in different ways.  Two brothers who have not spoken since having a fistfight three years before now hurry to find each other.  An estranged married couple reconciles.  A shrewd businesswoman goes from door to door,  collecting old  debts and urging her neighbors to settle their accounts while there is still  time. A gravedigger decides that it will be best to lie at the bottom of a grave he has just dug and wait to meet Jesus in the air.  A young man who had been raised by a single mother finds out that his father is the local court judge.   An alcoholic, shocked into sobriety, falls to his knees in repentance on the steps of a nearby church.  Many people pray fervently for the first time in a long time.  When the next day dawns quietly, life in Blakesburg returns to normal, but the lives of some of the people have been changed for good.

Events like the ``heavenly signs'' in Stuart's novel and the Y2K scare can sometimes have beneficial results.  In the short term, they can force us to face a greater reality.  It might be a good exercise to consider the following questions as we enter a new millennium:  What if this were the year of your death or of Christ's return?  Are you satisfied with the way you have spent your time?  Do any relationships-with God, family, or friends-deserve more attention?  

In the long term, the Y2K scare can be beneficial if it leads us to walk each day in greater awareness that we are living in God's presence, and to conduct our lives based on that awareness.  As the apostle Paul wrote in Eph.  5:15-17,


  “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” (KJV)     


That's what to do in Y2K.

Issue 6


File translated fromTE Xby T TH ,version 2.79.
On 11 Nov 2000, 14:40.