If there were ever a turning point in time, it would be today. Our global civilization is dangerously unstable, not only because of grim environmental threats, but because our social institutions are unsustainable at every scale—from family life to national politics to global governance. Many of the institutions that have served us well for decades — even centuries — seem frozen in time clearly unable to move forward. The global economy and financial services industry, governments around the world, health-care systems, news outlets, all media and our institutions for solving global problems are all struggling. Our energy and transportation systems are spewing enough carbon to threaten our biosphere. So many lives today are filled with pain. The world is becoming even more unequal, unstable and unsustainable. Either through stress, pressure, unfortunate circumstances, or bad decisions, we find ourselves living in a world that is broken and has seemingly fallen apart even more than ever before. But there is hope!
Nothing works perfectly, because sin has damaged everything. We only need to look at the physical world around us to see this. Natural disasters and deformities are everywhere. We live on a broken planet; it’s not perfect anymore. But that doesn’t stop us from trying to make it so. People go to great lengths to postpone their own personal decay with creams, lotions, Botox, surgery — you name it. No matter what we try, “Though outwardly we are wasting away…” 2 Corinthians 4:16. It’s inevitable. It’s even a scientific law. The second law of thermodynamics says that everything is in a state of decay or decline. I know this is not the most uplifting message you could read. No one needs to remind you about aging and decay. But there is hope. We can thank God, because he will not leave us in this imperfect world forever.
It is difficult for many of us to understand and what we don’t get most of the time is everybody has broken-world experiences – even believers. No one is immune to suffering or exempt from experiencing difficulties in this broken world. The fact is we live in a fallen world where bad things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people.
Trials are inevitable. Bad times aren’t a possibility – they are a promise. It’s why Peter warned us, “Don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.” -1 Peter 4:12 Jesus’ last words on Earth were very similar: “In this world you will have tribulation…” John 16:33. We should expect to have broken-world experiences.
When we go through painful times in our lives, it can seem like a natural thing to think God is punishing us. This very often stems from a mindset that God is angry, and wants to see us suffer, or teach us a lesson. The reality is that the choices we make in life can sometimes cause unpleasant circumstances for us. God uses everything that happens to us to try and help us make the right choices, and what we see as a punishment is actually an opportunity God uses to help us return too or get on the right track.
God is not this faraway deity based in some distant galaxy, out of touch with reality and ready to crush us when we sin. When we accept Him into our lives, He lives inside of us—you can’t get any closer than that. He developed a beautiful plan for our lives long before we were born, unfortunately we as man messed it up long ago. It is not His will that any of His children perish – 2 Peter 3:9. But He won’t force His plans for you on you, just as He did thousands of years ago He continues to let you decide for yourself whether or not to accept His plan for your life, and even if you will accept Him into your life.
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” – Rev. 3:20