A Broken World

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My friend

  • has breast cancer.
  • has been diagnosed with ALS.
  • can’t stomach food and doesn’t know why.
  • was robbed.
  • has an adult child who will not speak to her.
  • had surgery that went awry.
  • was denied parole.

This is not a multiple choice question. All these hardships have, in the last forty days, plagued people who are close to me. Why is the world so broken? Why must there be so much pain?

Of course, we know this is a fallen world, a world of sin and sorrows. Yet Paul, in his letters to the early church (where there was plenty of sin and sorrow going on) repeatedly called believers to a life of faith, trust and rejoicing.

I write plenty about faith, trust and rejoicing, but the rubber has met the road for me. My world seems to have taken on a double dose of trouble. Here are the questions going through my mind.

What does trusting look like?

Does it forbid tears? No way. Jesus wept–over the death of a man he surely knew he was about to bring back to life. And I’ve cried plenty in the last few weeks.

Does it require a happy face all the time? I am quite sure this cannot be. The Bible talks about the comfort God offers. Most people who need comfort are in pain. I believe we can hurt, ask for comfort, even be angry at the brokenness we see, and still maintain a deep inner peace and perspective. We can rejoice at the faithfulness of God and rail against the evils of the world all at the same time.

Is there a better choice than trusting? The answer to this question must also be a resounding no.

  • We know we are not in control. Neither I nor anyone I know can take away the hardships listed at the beginning of this blog.
  • We know God is in control. He made us and we are his. He is all knowing and all powerful.
  • We know our God is both wise and loving.

And so, what other course is there but to trust in God? How will things turn out when we trust him? Will all my friends’ hardships be healed? In the short run, perhaps. But then again, perhaps not.

In the long run, I am reminded of a rather random movie quote: “Everything will be okay in the end. If everything is not okay, then it is not yet the end.”[1] Or, said another way, “I’ve read the back of the book, and we win.”[2]

We do live in a broken world. I think that saddens our Lord even more than it saddens me. One day, we will find ourselves in a place where everything has been made right. In the meantime, sometimes I may cry, yet always I will trust!

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] My research attributes this quote to John Lennon, Fernando Sabino, Paolo Cocino and an unknown writer.

[2] Credited to two singing groups: Legacy Five and The Cathedral Quartet.

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