On Sunday October 30th we gathered together to share a little of our vision for City Hope Fellowship with our city.
We live in an age in which almost all information is available in our pockets in real time. Instantly. Whether it's using Google to find a video of someone repairing something, or checking Instagram to see what my friend on the other side of the country ate for lunch, I can have access to endless amounts of information. As a person who loves technology, creativity, and people, this is one of the most exciting times to be alive. And yet, this illusion of omniscience can be crippling. The speed at which I can find interesting and amazing things is also the speed at which I can view the evil and injustice in our world. Most days, this is a good thing. We are able to understand and advocate for justice better if we are informed. I can have the Disneyworld illusion of the way the world is stripped away and can grasp better the reality of the broken world we live in daily. I can know more about the reality of human-trafficking, racism, violence, political corruption, hunger, oppression of the poor, abortion, and the stories of suffering from everyday life in a fallen world. By being informed and pressing in I am better able to empathize with those who suffer and then seek for real change to help human life flourish to the fullest.
But some days it's too much.
Some days I realize that there is only one who is truly omniscient in the universe for a reason. Only God can view all the suffering in the world at one time, because only He is omnipotent. He is the only one with the power to redeem the world and the capacity to handle its brokenness. That may seem counterintuitive because there are days where it seems like He's asleep at the wheel and allowing the suffering of this world to far outpace any redemption. But, this is not true. I don't know why God allows some suffering, but remember, I don't know or see all. He does. And though I may not understand I can trust. I can trust because he is not callous towards our suffering but embraced our suffering on the cross in the person of his Son Jesus. And this offers us hope and forgiveness. And it also displays to us his justice. Sin is a big deal. The cross displays for us that God requires justice. In the end, all sin will be accounted for, all injustice will be dealt with, all wrongs will be righted, and justice will reign.
I need this. I need this because I can't stomach a universe in which there is so much evil, injustice, and rebellion that will not finally be resolved. When I see blatant miscarriages of justice, I need to know that Jesus sees, that he knows, and that justice is coming.
I need that with the sin I see and experience outside of me in the world. And I need that with the sin that lies deep in me. Because when I see the justice of God and m sinfulness, I cry out for his mercy and run to Jesus who bore the wrath that I deserved. He got justice so I could receive mercy. That is grace.
So, if you are like me and you are weary from injustice. Weary from brokenness. Weary from suicide bombings in Baghdad. Weary from shootings in Orlando. Weary from another black man dead in the streets unjustly with a hashtag to remember his humanity. Weary from the oppression of the poor. Weary from political corruption that sets some apart from the law. Weary from this sin-soaked world. Then look to the justice of God. Look to justice at the cross for your sin. Look to the justice at the end of time when Jesus will return and right all wrongs. And cry out to him. Cry out to him as the Psalmist does:
10 Why, O Lord, do you stand far away?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
2 In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor;
let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised.
3 For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul,
and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord.
4 In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him;
all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
5 His ways prosper at all times;
your judgments are on high, out of his sight;
as for all his foes, he puffs at them.
6 He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved;
throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.”
7 His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression;
under his tongue are mischief and iniquity.
8 He sits in ambush in the villages;
in hiding places he murders the innocent.
His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;
he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net.
10 The helpless are crushed, sink down,
and fall by his might.
11 He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,
he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”
12 Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand;
forget not the afflicted.
13 Why does the wicked renounce God
and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”?
14 But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation,
that you may take it into your hands;
to you the helpless commits himself;
you have been the helper of the fatherless.
15 Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer;
call his wickedness to account till you find none.
16 The Lord is king forever and ever;
the nations perish from his land.
17 O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
18 to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more
And when you do, let the justice of God strengthen you. Let it strengthen you to stand in the way of righteousness and justice. Stand in the truth. Stand with the oppressed and marginalized. And stand with Jesus in compassion and mercy as we pray for his perfect justice to rule.
I am constantly telling my children to look both ways before they cross the street. It is necessary, especially with my boys, to remind them often that they have to look in both directions. I need the same advice and I need it just as often. John Stott, in his commentary of the book of Titus says, “the best way to live now, in this present age, is to learn to do spiritually what is impossible physically, namely to look in opposite directions at the same time.” What does he mean by this? And how would that help us live in this present time?
I had an awesome opportunity last night to teach at the Impact Movement on Ball State's Campus. It was such a fun night with a great group of students as we looked at the mission of God to create a multicultural people known as the church and what this has to say about racial reconciliation. Take a listen and see what you think.