Our world is broken and messed up.
God created the world, looked over everything that was made and declared that it was very good. But we don’t have to look very far to see that everything is not good. While a lot of beauty, kindness and compassion remains in our world, everything has been tainted by evil, suffering and pain because of sin and the curse.
Stunning headlines grab for our attention day by day. A 72-hour cease-fire between Israel and Hamas lasts only a couple hours before terrorists attack and kidnap an Israeli soldier. Isis is sweeping across Iraq executing infidels and apostates. Russian rebels in Ukraine shot down a Malaysian airliner while the turmoil continues in Ukraine with Russian looking on hungrily. We have a huge humanitarian crisis at our southern border with thousands of illegal immigrants including unaccompanied children, but solutions are mired in politics. And have we forgotten about Boko Haram in Nigeria?
But we don’t have to look around the world to see evil, corruption and abuse. Thankfully, things seem much more peaceful on the high plains of South Dakota. We don’t have to run for bomb shelters at all hours of the night. We don’t have Isis marking our homes with the sign of the Nazarene and issuing a Fatwa that Christians must flee or be killed. But still our own communities are riddled with violence and corruption. Here on the reservation, we see much pain and suffering caused by addictions, alcoholism, disintegrating families, despair and injustice.
And what about sickness, disease and death? Cancer claimed the life of one of our young preacher boys this past week leaving behind a wife and small child. I can only imagine the pain they are feeling today.
All of this is out there. But honestly, we must admit that it is in here as well. Pain, suffering and evil are very personal matters as well. Have you been wounded, abused, abandoned, rejected or victimized by the cruel or selfish acts of others. Have you experienced the loss of a loved one?
Perhaps, if we were really honest, we would admit that we have been personally hurt and also wounded others by our selfish and sinful choices. What about angry words, porn, a bitter grudge, unfaithfulness, lies, or pride?
We live in a broken and messed up world and for some of it, in our own little corner of the world, we must bear a little of the responsibility.
Let’s get on to the hope of the gospel. Jesus wants to make all things new and he wants to start in us. For all of our sins, big or small, public or private–for all of our sins, God offers forgiveness and deliverance through Jesus Christ. God’s Word promises in I John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” And the Scripture plainly declares in II Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
For all of the wounds we have endured and for every sorrow we have felt, God promises his presence and healing. Psalm 34: says, “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” Psalm 147:3 reminds us, “He healeth the broken in heart and bindeth up their wounds.”
But even still, with a clean heart and a clear conscience, with the very presence of God as we walk through dark valleys under death’s shadow, with the healing love of God soothing our wounded hearts–even still, we see and feel pain here in our broken and messed up world.
Christians are not blind to the suffering and evil in our world. Romans 8 depicts all of creation groaning and waiting for the day of redemption. We have a ministry of reconciliation and offer God’s mercy and grace to the suffering of this world. And we look with hope to a brighter day.
This old broken and messed up world will one day be consumed with a fervent heat, but “nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness (II Peter 3:13).”
John the Revelator writes in Revelation 21: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away… And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.” (Italics added).
“Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless (2 Peter 3:14).”