We see heartbreak on our screens every day don’t we:
- natural disasters – devastating images of horror and grief
- immigrants desperate to escape fear and persecution and the poor attempts of our governments to deal with this
- increase in diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease
- unstable financial situations within countries
- child abuse
- climate change
- increased violence
- the paralysing fear of terrorism
- the list goes on and on
Even the everyday pressures of living, juggling work and home commitments, the demands on our children to succeed take their toll. Too much information, too many expectations, too many places to be, too many things to do and process and the constant backdrop of the chaos taking place on the world stage.
Anxiety, fear, helplessness, anger, confusion, worry! Where does it end? How do we cope? Where is God in all this mess? Has He lost control? Why doesn’t He intervene? How can the loving, all-powerful God seem to be powerless in a world of suffering, violence and anxiety?
The fact is God never lost control. He has always been, and always will be in control!
It is not God who created this mess! The human race did! When God created this earth, He made it perfect. However, He gave humans the ability to choose, to make decisions on their own. And the first human beings, Adam and Eve, made a decision contrary to God’s instructions and wishes and changed from their innocent state to guilty of wrongdoing and consequently by God’s punishment, brought mortality to all creatures including the human race.
And it is important to note that the Bible specifically points out that sin or wrong doing is purely brought about by our own behaviour. James chapter 1 v 14-15 clearly states that all sin comes from our own thoughts and actions “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death”.
We have brought upon ourselves all manner of evil over the course of history and are still doing so… the violence, the wars, the tyranny, cruelty, the passion for power, fame and money and so much more. There is a quote in Job 5 v 7 which is so true: “Yet man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward”
However, it is all so convenient to blame this on God. “If He loved us, He wouldn’t let this happen!” The irony is that some people are angry at God and pronounce Him unfeeling and cruel, but have no desire to read His Bible or even admit His existence, let alone follow His principles. If the human race followed His law of love, the injustice of the world would be wiped out.
But He isn’t causing all this to occur as some sort of punishment, or finds pleasure watching our suffering. He sees the terrible suffering in the world, the poverty and starvation, the devastation of natural disasters which are no fault of the sufferers. And the Bible states:
“that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” Matthew 5:45
And in Ecclesiastes 9 v 11 “the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happens to them all”
Time and chance happens to all. Unfairness and sad things happen to everyone, good and bad, innocent and guilty. However, injustice is often brought about through human involvement.
However, God is allowing this confusion to continue for only a limited amount of time, until He intervenes in human history and takes control. Ever since the beginning of creation, God’s plan has slowly been unravelling and it is ultimately going to end with good news.
So what is His plan? It started way back in the Garden of Eden when God offered a way out of our inescapable sentence of death from the moment of Adam and Eve’s sin. We know we all die. Why is this? When Adam and Eve chose to disobey God, He decreed humans will be mortal (after all God couldn’t accept immortal sinners and our earth would be a nightmare place if so) and then promised a hope to overcome this.
“To Adam He said “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you shall return” Genesis 3 v 19
But He promised that a descendent of Eve would overcome sin and live a perfect life and consequently be awarded eternal life. This was Jesus Christ of course and because of his love for us, we can also be offered eternal life.
Paul in the letter to the Romans also states “for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6 v 23
God loved His creation so much, that He gave us a chance to ultimately live forever.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” John 3 v 16-17
But how are we saved? In what capacity will we have everlasting life? The Bible clearly states that Jesus will return to the earth and set up a kingdom that will last for ever.
…. this same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven." Acts 1:11
"For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works." Matthew 16 v 27
And Daniel 12 v 2 states that that reward can be wonderful or it can be devastating depending on how we live our lives now: “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt”.
But ultimately we can be reassured that God is forgiving and merciful: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God Ephesians 2 v 8
And this will happen at a time when the world just can’t take anymore chaos. In Matthew 24, Jesus spoke to his disciples about this time:
“Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered and said to them: …. you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows…..And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come……Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.
Has God lost control? Absolutely not! But why doesn’t He hurry up and step in and bring all this misery to a conclusion? Well, He wants to give everyone a chance to come to Him first.
“But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3 v 8-9
Do you want to be a part of this kingdom?
The first step is to admit that we are fatally flawed by our own actions and wish to embrace God as our Creator and also long for a meaningful spiritual relationship with Him.
The extent of our commitment to God is another subject to be explored, but we can be assured that God is in control! Soon He will send Jesus Christ back to earth to stop the chaos and restore sanity. Will you be ready?