Tsunami's, Earthquakes, babies ripped apart in the womb when they could survive outside it, marriage's crumbling simply out of selfishness, children sexually abused, wives beaten, women raped, ethnic wars, genocide, memories of the holocaust still haunting our memories, more memories of the oppressive ugly racial slavery that is part of our nations history, knowledge that there is still in our world slavery, the evil of prostitution, Christians being murdered across our world, we are surrounded by a sinful world and burdened with the taint of sin that still clings to us like a second skin. What we will do, what can we think. How will we respond as the children of God, how can we offer hope to this troubled world.
First - we must decide whether we will stick our heads in the sand, hum In the Garden to ourselves loudly enough so that we cannot hear the mess, pinch our noses so that we cannot smell the putrid garbage we walk through every day. Or will rise and be what Christ has called us to be, thinkers who understand rightly what a Holy God is doing with all this mess Will we be light in the darkness, or will you stick you head in the sand. O Christians it is time for us to open our eyes, put on Christ and march out into this dark world.
Second - we have to decide who is to blame. This is a sticky problem if you say that you believe in the God of the Bible, because that God says that He rules over all. In the beginning God created the world and said that it was good. What happened? Adam and Eve sinned and as those given the stewardship of the creation it was all plunged into a fallen, broken, sinful state when they sinned. But if God was sovereign why did He not make a people who would not sin, why did He not rush to their side and stop them from sinning. Here we see that God is not the author/creator of sin, but He did permit it. But Why?
Third - we now come to what I believe is the difficult truth. God had a plan that involved His Son being glorified through the saving of sinners. This plan existed before the creation, look below at Rev. 13:8, when were the names written in the book of life - before the foundation of the world. Look also at who the book of life belongs to - the lamb that was slain. God created a world where His Son would be the redeemer, where His Son would be exalted, God created a theater for the glory of Christ. Are you squirming yet?
Rev. 13:8 (ESV) and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain.
Fourth - God is dealing with sin already. Look around at your church on Sunday, there you see a bunch of sinners. Hopefully a bunch of redeemed sinners. They/We are evidence that God has already begun to deal with the tragedy of sin. The Cross is proof that God is not dozing on the throne, in the death of Jesus the defeat of sin and all the enemies of God is assured. So as we look at the human evil of the world we must remember that Jesus has died and has been raised and is reigning on high. He will deal with sin as either its atoning sacrifice or as its just judge. Jesus will bring sin to account.
Fifth - we must still deal with the reality of the creation, red in tooth and claw. Tragedies swirling around us. God will deal with this also.
Rev. 21:1 (ESV) Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.
God will recreate His universe. This fallen world will pass away and we will experience a world without sin, a world without death, a world without cancer, black lung, we will live in a world that is beyond the original creation because the lamb that was slain will dwell in it.
Right now we are like a ship stranded in a fog so thick that we despair of ever seeing anything but fog ever again, yet the nose of the ship is pointed to a safe harbor and we are inching toward it, whether we can see it or not. Someday, in the wise timing of our Father, we will emerge from the fog and gaze full face into His glory and we will never cease to gaze and we will know completely what we have only tasted now.