Monday, July 21, 2014

What is wrong with the world?

When the London Times ran an essay contest asking, "What is wrong with the world?" the great theologian G.K. Chesterton  replied with the shortest essay he ever wrote. It consisted of two words: "I am."

It's true of all of us. All we, like sheep, have gone astray.

And so with Chesterton, I sadly acknowledge the fact that I have made my own contributions to all that has gone wrong in the world, a world that is showing its brokenness in horrific ways this month.

  • Thousands of abandoned babies have been left on the door step of the United States. How do we respond?
  • While a movie called "Persecuted" is released in the United States (where religious freedoms are probably more plentiful than in any other country on earth), Christians in Northern Iraq have been given an ultimatum: Convert to Islam, pay a religious tax, or die. How do we respond?
  • A passenger jet was shot out of the air by Ukrainian separatists--an act of terrorism that impacts the entire global community. How do we respond?
  • Hamas is screaming bloody murder as Gaza is plummeted by Israeli missiles--yet they refuse to sign a peace treaty. They say they want peace, but they will not accept a peace that gives Israel the right to exist. How do we respond?

Broken. All of it. All of us.

Dallas Willard writes, "there is no human answer to human problems." A sobering but undeniable truth. There are no human answers to human problems because humanity IS the problem.

Which might sound fatalistic, except it isn't. When I come up against these tragedies, I stop looking to human solutions and turn to my Father and say, "Help!" Such surrender does not lead to helplessness, but hopefulness. If God is above all, then he has a plan for this, too. And if I am his servant, it's likely that his plan of redemption will employ my willing service.

But what can I do?

Last night, we as a family prayed for these dire situations. We set aside our personal needs and desires, and we spent time interceding for our world. Each of us lifted up these various tragedies, crying out to the one who loves the world so much that he died to save it. And our work is not yet over. No, we will continue to intercede for all those who are suffering around the world. Prayer is not some pathetic last resort, it is the most powerful force available to us, though we are often remiss to employ it.

Next, we will do whatever God puts before us to do. When I enter into a cause through prayer, I often find that God brings me opportunities to minister in practical ways as well. These things may be small and seem insignificant, but they are our assignments and we want to complete them. We need to be attentive to our surroundings, our neighbors, and the needs that are right before us.

Finally, we must be open to doing what may not be right before us. God may call some of us into those dangerous places, at our own expense. This is our chance to be the church to the world. To bring kindness and grace into dark and ugly places. To let the redemption that pumps through our veins spill out and bless our broken world.

What we must not do is turn up the Christian radio station to drown out the depressing news channel, turning our backs on the grief and pain--especially when it seems so far and removed from our comfortable lives. We have been called into the world--a screaming, violent, tortured world--as messengers of peace. We must not shrink back. We dare not ignore.

Lean into Jesus, and follow wherever He leads.


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  2. As always, Jennifer, your thoughts echo God's message to my own soul.
    Blessings, Karen