In the beginning, God created the world. (Gen. 1) God took it from some semblance of nothingness to the complexity we see now. The trees, the grasses, the animals, the fish, the humans – each type as wonderful and unique as the next, an array of glorious creativity and uniqueness. And then the humans went and messed it up. (Gen. 3) And just like that the world was no longer a paradise. (Gen. 3.1) Harm and hardship had entered human existence. We now live in a world rife with harm and hardship!
The evidence of a less than ideal human reality is so far reaching and astounding. Physical ailments, hate crimes, war, discrimination, abuse all speak to the world not being in perfect functioning form. Senseless and grotesque murders, rape, trafficking, slavery, and injustice– The initial horror and trauma reverberates from the incident, causing a ripple effect across the globe. The human body now a home for a mess of threads from a web of harm perpetuated around the world, which has seemingly small or obviously huge effects on who we are, and how we live and interact with others. It’s quite discouraging to live in temporary and only momentary pseudo peace, constantly interrupted by more examples of hate, trauma, harm, and hardship. But just as the serpent interrupted the paradise of creation, so another interruption disrupted the flow of human history. Except in the latter case, the interruption was with hopeful redemption, and insertion of peace and love. (Ecl 3.11) At the time it occurred, an un-astounding birth of an unknown baby, to an unknown couple, in an obscure place, under far less than ideal circumstances, the event alters the course of human history, inserting love, hope and peace into an otherwise bleak reality. It really wasn’t his birth that paved a path of love and hope. The miracle of sacrificial death paved an impossible path toward redemption through Jesus' death and resurrection. (1 Pet. 1.3) And so, humankind wrestles now, living as new creatures (2 Cor. 5.17), in the old world; looking forward to the day of full redemption (Rev. 21.4-5).
The way forward is littered with the obstacles of a broken and angry world, hell-bent on destroying any love it sees. The way forward is a hard-cleared path through tangled briars. Armed with only love, it sometimes feels like bringing a hug to a gunfight, but it is not simply the only way.* It is the lasting way. What does this in-between space look like? How does one live as a new creature in an old, hateful world? How does one bring the hope of love and redemption into the darkness of the hate, the harm, the devastation? As futile as it sometimes feels, our God-directed endeavors tunnel through impossible situations, creating a rift in the walls of harm, creating the opening of a chasm of hope through the pain. It is of particular joy to me to travel through these endeavors with you. Let’s commence the journey at once!
"Lord, your power is a mysterious conundrum of ultimate strength that often appears as if it has been crushed and made obsolete. Give me eyes to see your glory, majesty, and strength; and the faith to know that what I can't see is still at work and victorious! You are the ruler of the earth, and you desire that all know your great love and care. Enable my sight to grow, so that I can be a part of assisting others in growing their vision of your love, wonder and victory over hate and death. Thank you for never leaving us in hate and terror. Please make your presence known even more obviously as I work to share that presence with the world around me." -Becky *Postscript: It should be noted that I'm not necessarily advocating for passivity. My focus is on the love of God and how we can spread that to those around us because it is so lacking in our world at this time.
Footnote: Kwibuka means "to remember" and describes the annual commemoration of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda (http://kwibuka.rw/).