It is an incontrovertible fact that we do not live in an ideal world. Far from it! We are surrounded by sickness and suffering, sorrow and death, troubles and ills, woes and wars of sometimes seemingly incomprehensible proportions. Man’s inhumanity to man and the staggering toll of violence and sorrow it brings to us on a world-wide scale constantly outrages good, peace loving people. In a world that supposedly treasures peace, we are seldom without war or the threat of war.
We are told by scientists that the whole of creation is, by the laws of the universe, running down – moving toward a certain death. The second law of thermodynamics defines this process of entropy that says that everything is moving toward its eventual end. As human beings, we each experience in our bodies the ravages of age, knowing that they are harbingers of our own death.
Paul’s comment in Romans 8 illustrates this point.
“We know that everything God made has been waiting until now in pain like a woman ready to give birth to a child.” (Romans 8:22 ERV).
The J. B. Phillips paraphrase even more powerfully dramatizes this truth.
“It is plain to anyone with eyes to see that at the present time all created life groans in a sort of universal travail. And it is plain, too, that we who have a foretaste of the Spirit are in a state of painful tension,” (Romans 8:22-25 PHILLIPS).
Or to put it in the words of the great old hymn, “Abide With Me,”
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day; earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away; change and decay in all around I see; O thou who changest not, abide with me.
In the midst of this complex, confusing condition we are often beset with questions to which there are no easy answers. Why does God permit such suffering in the world? Why does he allow evil men to live and perpetrate their pernicious plans on an already suffering mankind? Why do bad things happen to good people? Why is it that so often evil people live in luxury and ease while righteous people often are deprived of health and even the basics of food and shelter? Why? Why? Why?
When God created all things none of these things were true. Everything God made was, as he said, “good.” Man was not made to suffer from breakdowns in their DNA which results in physical deformities and mental deficiencies. He was not made to suffer pain and death from a world that seems to be against his very existence. He was not made to live in fear from violent nature as hurricanes and tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes. He was not made to live in fear of debilitating diseases and death from cancer or suffer the ravaging dementia of Alzheimer disease.
Why do all these things happen? The only answer I know to give is because we live in a broken world. When we think of the entrance of sin into the world by our first parents we seldom think of anything beyond the severance of man’s relationship with God and of the physical death that came upon the human race. But all of the attendant evils that accompany those two obvious things also came upon the human race beginning at that time.
So, how are we to live in this broken world? If all were brokenness, there would be very little to live for. But thankfully there is more to the world than its sad, ruined condition. There is yet much goodness in the world and we should live in thankfulness for all that is good. Where I live in rural south central Kentucky, we have experienced one of the most beautiful fall seasons in years. The weather has been crisp and clear for the most part and the foliage has been an extravaganza of brilliant color no artist could match. There are good, caring people all around us who make life a joy because of their being in our lives. Most of us have good, loving family around us. All these things serve as a reminder of the fact that these things should characterize all facets of our existence. They are a foretaste of the life that is to come! Indeed, joyfulness and thankfulness should characterize us even though we may experience sorrow and loss from time to time.
We should live righteously. Though evil abounds, this is no excuse to be unrighteous. There is no justifiable reason for giving up on life and giving in to the world of wickedness. God still lives and his will for our lives is intended for our own good. We should, by all means and with all diligence, seek his will for our lives.
We should live hopefully and expectantly. God has promised to those who love him, believe in him and obey him life that is life more abundant now and eternal life in the future. The evils of this broken world will come to an end when he makes all things new.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18).
Indeed, God has something better for us. There will be eternal life for the righteous because death will have been destroyed. (1 Corinthians 15:50-55). We will receive immortality – an undying nature.
“[God] will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life” (Romans 2:6-7).
Those who have died will be resurrected from the graves to live with him forever. (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).
That new life will be in the new heavens and new earth where only righteousness exists.
“But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:13).
How do we know all these things will be? We know because God has promised. When he gives his word he will keep it. And we have a guarantee beyond just his word – we have the greatest act of love that has ever been bestowed on mankind that assures us of his willingness to give us the kind of life we were always supposed to live in the kind of world we were always meant to inhabit.
“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).
So rejoice! Although we live in a broken world, one day God will fix it all. Everything will be restored to its original intent – only perfected into a beautiful, gleaming city where there will be no sorrow or sighing no sickness or separation. A dwelling place for God, our Savior and ourselves in eternal, blessed fellowship. A place where neither sin nor any its consequence can enter.
Aaaah! Home! There is no place like it!