Written By: Chris Mace
We live in a magnificently beautiful, physical world from which we gather inklings and snippets of something even more grand, but these glimpses quickly fade because something is wrong!
We do not live in Eden. We live with imperfections—dead trees, decaying vegetation, fading colors, dark clouds, dangerous mountain passes, rocky shores, raging waters, and tragic weather events. Frequently, our personal spiritual “world” mirrors the material one. We are more in-sync with stress and turmoil than we are with peace and order.
Religion has failed to bring order and grace. In fact, forced religious domination leads to oppression and cruelty. The justice system provides social and moral structure but does not make people moral. The Enlightenment failed to make people better, more peaceful, or kind as was proven by horrible war devastations throughout the 20th century. Science and technology raise ethical dilemmas. Moral relativism, cynicism, and disillusionment are tearing society’s fabric apart. Poverty, hunger, injustices, and violence are persistent and widespread throughout this world. Our wisdom, our knowledge, our understanding are limited and faulty. Try as we might, we can not bring our restless dysfunction to complete emotional and spiritual calmness or gentleness of spirit.
Why is there no peace? Why is there so much pain? The startling answer is that we are at to blame! We have good desires, but they have become corrupted, and destructive. The world would be going to sleep with full stomachs, and poverty would be nonexistent if not for greed. Willful, unrestrained, arrogant racism, radicalism, and demands for resources and power cause wars. Control would mean self restraint imposed by the Moral Code and not attempts to make right and wrong conform to what we want it to be. Pleasure would be pleasure if it were not for the excesses of lust which lead to debilitating behaviors and addictions and disintegrating personalities. We would experience self-fulfillment if it were not for unbridled selfishness that covers and mars the image God gave us. Our reasoning is limited at best and faulty at worst. We are unable to self-correct or avoid folly.
Some would say that our dysfunction is due to hurriedness, lack of human intimacy, fear, control loss, uncertainty, insecurity, or technology. However, we are disordered because we do not know God or perhaps even desire to know God as we should even though He is the Author of life and Creator of order! He is the One who holds the material universe together and balances the moral universe.
He brings grace and redemption to rebellion, love and mercy to justice, comfort and purpose to suffering, power to weakness, peace to pain, joy to tears, strength to humility, exaltation to lowliness, courage to fear, assurance to anxiety, endurance to faltering, truth to delusion, meaning to quandaries and conundrums, calmness to trouble spirits, confidence to desperation, forgiveness to folly, and eternal life to dying people.
Everything changes when God enters our circumstances. He intervenes and introduces order to our chaos if we allow Him to. Christ’s cross and resurrection assure us of that. Through His grace and mercy and our trust, we receive forgiveness and healing. By taking our sin penalty and giving us his righteousness, Christ realigns us with God’s good purposes and a meaningful life free from condemnation and fear of death. And one day, we have the promise of creation’s complete restoration:
“Every valley shall be lifted up/and every mountain and hill be made low /the uneven ground shall become level/ and the rough places a plain (Isaiah 40:4).