Our only source of hope

I have all these thoughts floating around in my brain. The thought that keeps coming up most though, is that life is so painfully messy. Life is full of so many shades of grey. I just listened to a video by Tim Keller and Bryan Stevenson. Tim Keller is an incredible pastor from NYC who I respect and learn from several times a week via his podcast. Bryan Stevenson is the author of Just Mercy, an excellent book that advocates for prison reform, essentially (there’re a lot of topics he covers, but that’s the main point of it). There were so many valid points that were brought up in that video. I kept thinking to myself, yes! That’s right! But there also was an elusive idea that I couldn’t put my finger on that was missing, and initially, I couldn’t figure it out.

There are many injustices in our day. So many terrible things that happen that just shouldn’t. Is it the child’s fault that their parents have a drug addiction? Is it a person’s fault that they were at the wrong place at the wrong time? Is it the elderly’s fault that they have a roommate in their nursing home with Covid-19? It’s unfair. It’s objectively not right. And I don’t want to ever push to the side the reality of the consequences of these injustices. People have real feelings and responses. People are horribly affected by the bad and selfish decisions of others for years and very often the rest of their lives.

My heart re-broke as I listened to Mr. Stevenson reiterate several of the same stories that he wrote about in his book. They are awful. A young boy that killed a man, who happened to be a sheriff, and was abusing his mother. He was put in prison and was almost immediately physically abused and raped. Why? And there was another man with a mental disability who was sentenced to death. He was given no mercy despite his circumstances. Heart-wrenching. I could go on. These people exist. These people were victims of a broken system. I’m so thankful for people like Mr. Stevenson who are fighting to change laws and protect vulnerable people.

Of course, there are problems that need to be addressed. You know why? Broken people created those laws. And you know what? Broken people are trying to fix them. Does that mean we have no hope? Well, that depends. I hope and pray that laws can be amended to keep the innocent out of jail and the guilty in jail, appropriately. I’m certain there are many things that can be done. But that is not where my hope lies and it shouldn’t be where your hope lies either. Because just as soon as we fix one problem, another will pop up. Have we not learned that throughout history? Very smart people have lived before us and we are still living in a very imperfect world. That should tell us a whole lot. We are not any better than the ones who came before us. We are not more enlightened! What in the world could be wrong?

Problems will always be there because we are all sinful. We can amend laws as a whole, but what can we do about the individual sin that lies within ourselves? What tools do we have to fix the root of the problem? Our own hearts that refuse to take responsibility when we need to? Our own choices that are foolish and selfish at times? Our own hearts that act out in pride and self-righteousness? We can’t always control what happens to us, but how are we doing with respect to how we react to our own circumstances? Do we have a law to fix or help out with that? Do we have a book to read or a person to follow to teach us?

I do. I’m not trying to minimize the complexity of the world we live in or the problems we face, but truly only the blood of Christ can help us. The people of Israel were given the perfect law of God, and they still screwed it up. I’m sure they all had excuses why they made the choices they did, but at the end of the day, we all have the choice to do what’s right or to do what’s easy (in the words of Dumbledore). The problem isn’t the system or our laws; the problem is us. We’re not just broken, but we are dead. Dead in our sin (Eph. 2:1-2). Since we are redeemed by Christ, we must repent of our sin, and accept Him not just as our Savior, but also as our LORD. He came to save us from our sins, and because we have been redeemed by Him, we fall under His authority and we are called to submit to living holy, righteous lives according to His Word and empowered by His Spirit. Not because we have to but because we GET to. As Believers, we live in this sinful world of lots of gray, but the one thing that is clear is that we can choose how we react to each situation we are put in so that we can glorify God regardless of the particular circumstance.

I pray that despite all the madness we are seeing turn up in our social media feeds and in our news on our TV’s at night, we ultimately turn to the only source of true hope. There is no hope that can be found in this world. NONE. Only by the blood of Christ do we have hope. LORD, please give us the wisdom we need to see that!

I also pray that where we see the hurting, we extend a hand. Where we see injustice, we speak for the marginalized. In any way we can be the hands and feet of Christ, I pray we have the wisdom and strength to do so, always. Few of us have been shown Christ without loving hands being extended in our own brokenness first. I pray that we as the Church extend our hands in each circumstance where we see those that are hurting. Let us show them the love of Christ not just by our words but by our deeds. Amen?

©2024 Mud Hen Mama


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