Life is confusing. This past week has been filled with anxiety and fear for so many around the world. On Saturday over 160 Iraqis were killed by car bombings, among other things, most of them were civilians. Monday 33 people were gunned down in Virginia at Virginia Tech. Since then there have been bomb and shooting threats around the United States. Here at APU an alleged gunman ran onto campus two nights ago and the dormitories were placed on lock down, thus stirring up all sorts of frantic emotions among students (the man ended up being harmless). A few nights ago a friend of mine from elementary school, a close friend of my brother was found dead in by brother’s house from an overdose on Oxycotton. And to top it off my roommate Danny was mugged last night (of course they didn’t get anything significant, I don’t know who would rob a college student, we’re all broke). There is chaos all around us from across the globe to our own homes. There are things happening all around us and things that just don’t belong here. It’s in times like these that we begin to truly wonder what God is up to. What is God doing about all this?
It’s tempting to blame God for the problems in the world; I guess part of that comes from our top-down mentality… He’s in charge so blame Him. But I don’t think God agrees with us. God, through the Biblical narrative, seems to place the problems in our hands just as we seek Him for help. This top-down logic doesn’t work with God because He’s chosen to create a world with capacity for terrible things to happen due in part to the fact that He has chosen to work within history primarily through people (He even decided to become one). So, perhaps just as we ask God what He plans to do about all this chaos He’s asking us the exact same question. What are you going to do about it?
We, the Church, are the foretaste of the eschatological Kingdom of God. We, by our works, proclaim who God is and what his kingdom looks like. Therefore, if we truly believe that God can and should do something about evil in the world, then we must do something about it.
If we sit and passively ponder the question of who God is we declare a terrible lie: that God is passive. We can, in such passivity, lead ourselves into great justification for our laziness. Some would say that this is “judgment” from heaven and God is inflicting this pain in order to judge the world or specifically America (and it can be so easy to forget that America isn’t the only country on the globe). And I’m sure that some have actually come to such a conclusion. Don’t you see that what you do in response to situations like this has eternal significance?
In talking about doing something about all of this I don’t just mean sending checks to mourning families or writing letters to people who might be able to prevent a situation like this from happening in the future. I am also talking about how we should think in times like this. We are to be a beacon of hope and harmony in a world of anxiety and chaos. Thus, we need to keep hope. Doubt all you want, be honest in your conversations and in your prayers, but hope must remain. If you believe in the resurrection then you believe that in times like this, when things seem hopeless, there is still hope because our Savior did end up on a cross and it doesn’t get much more hopeless than that.
Remember that the resurrection is right around the corner. Find yourself in that reality and shout it from the streets by being the hope you’ve found. Be the healing that Christ brought by rising in victory. Be a servant of restoration in a world that needs a real savior. God is compassionate and He is indeed doing something, maybe it’s beneath the surface where you can’t see it but one day it’ll sprout up in a harvest of new life. We live in the hope of the resurrection now, and await the day when the Kingdom of God is no longer in competition with our fear and the evils of the world.
God, we look to you for our salvation because we’ve tried to save ourselves too many times and have only brought more chaos and more killing. With all the blood that surrounds us and all the blood that is even on our own hands we plead with You to be our rescue. Convict where conviction is needed, judge where judgment is needed, grieve where grieving is needed, and wash this blood off of our hands. You, oh Lord, are the only hope. May we be the foretaste of Your Kingdom and the people through which You bring that healing. You are the God who is love and you are compassionate. Give us Your compassion and Your obsession with healing the world. Amen.