As I look out my window, I see dying trees — trees that were healthy last year. I see stumps of trees that died last year and were healthy when we bought this house 8 years ago. I read on the Internet how many huge percentages of trees in North America are dying at abnormally high rates… ///
I happen across an article talking about how huge numbers of frogs and toads are disappearing… ///
I read the news and watch the hatred between white and black Americans suck people off streets that were supposed to be safe and into graves and nightmares full of fear for tomorrow. ///
It has been ever since the fall… since sin and murder and hatred entered the world and brought with it a curse upon even nature itself. We think the world is getting scary, but only because we were born into one of the safest times and places in history to be born into. It’s always been scary.
He came so that each individual who was willing to accept it could have life in a dying world. So that you and I could experience peace in a world of turmoil. So that every single person might know His love in a world of hatred. So that there might be hope in a world dominated by media that spreads despair.
Is this the message that we as American Christians are sharing with our neighbors… our family… our coworkers… our Facebook feed?
If we were to ask them what our reaction is to all of this, would they say that we are talking about hope sent from a God who knew that humanity would do this to itself?
Or are they hearing us saying with shock in our voice, “What is this world coming to?”
Are they watching us blame our president and/or the liberals, or are they hearing us acknowledge that “our battle is not against flesh and blood“?
Are they hearing us talk about judgement, or are they hearing about the One who spoke mercifully and kindly to a prostitute and told those who ‘stood for what was right’ that they needed to learn from her. The One who shared food (maybe even cake) with sinners and said, “I have not come to call the righteous.“
Is this the message that my own neighbors and family and Facebook feed is hearing from me? That I, at least, believe that in the midst of all of this mess, there is still hope and love and mercy and redemption to be found for everyone in Jesus?
I believe there is…
Hope for black people who are unjustly accused.
Hope for police men and women who are unjustly hated.
Hope for white men who can’t get jobs because the law requires that a minority be hired.
Hope for women who are abused or enslaved, be it the sex trade or relationships that hold love hostage unless they perform.
Hope for men who feel like nothing they do is ever good enough to earn respect.
Hope for illegal immigrants who find themselves stuck in the quagmire of a court system that does not deport them or give them permission to stay, saying only, “Keep yourself alive as well as you can, just make sure you have the money to travel the 200 miles necessary to be back here in court in two years – no matter what.”
Hope for hate-filled ‘Christians’ and hope for those who aren’t hate-filled and don’t understand why others say they are.
Hope for homosexuals and transgenders and everyone else caught in the middle.
Hope for politicians and government authorities who started their career with a sincere desire to do good and are now on constant trial before a judgmental and biased media and public.
And there is hope for every single one of us who looks at this mess and feels like it’s hopeless.
Yes, it is hopeless… without Jesus.
No, Jesus did not come to bring marvelous earthly solutions to all of the above. He said that the turmoil would remain. The paradox is that He said He came so that even then, we might still have peace.
Many are telling you to pray for your country.
But I am encouraging you to also pray for yourself.
Pray that God will show you His peace so much that it would overflow from you so that you can share it with those around you who need it so very much.
Pray that God will overwhelm your heart with love for races other than yours — regardless of which race you were born into.
Pray that God will let you feel His heart toward homosexuals and transgenders — I guarantee you that it is loving and compassionate.
Pray that God will show you this nation and this world through His eyes — and prepare to discover the parts of your old perspective that need to be abandoned.
Pray that God will open your eyes to see your own pride and judgement and sin… so that you can leave it behind and be a minister of healing, for this is what He said was required.
He is what this dying world needs, but they will never know if we cannot humble ourselves and let Him make us into what He desires us to be.