“Imagine a set of people all living in the same building. Half of them think it’s a hotel, the other half think it’s a prison. Those who think it a hotel might regard it as quite intolerable, and those who thought it was a prison might decide that it was really surprisingly comfortable. So that what seems the ugly doctrine is one that comforts and strengthens you in the end. The people who try to hold an optimistic view of this world would become pessimists; the people who hold a pretty stern view of it become optimistic.” C.S. Lewis.
Though there are many who were brought up in the “Church,” there are also many who have come to faith in Jesus Christ because of extreme circumstances in their lives: the death of a loved one, finding out they have an incurable disease, a near-death experience, addictions, rape, etc. Yet also these seem to be the very same circumstances that either turn people away from Jesus or make their hatred and denial of Him even stronger. Why is it that these same circumstances in people’s lives make them react in these 2 opposite extremes?
I am often asked why God would allow things such as rape, murder, abortions, and evil to happen in the world. That there can’t be a God if these things exist, and, if there is a God, then He must be a demented masochist.
No one but God himself can answer questions like this, and there is no easy answer. All I know is what the Scriptures reveal to me, and what they reveal to me is that God is love. God created us and loves us so much He sent His only Son to die for us. That since sin entered the world the world is broken. Sin affects us all, and no matter what evil “some other” person has done, we are all the same sinners in the eyes of God.
Even though we are in this world Christians are not of this world. Our true home is not in this sinful world it is in Heaven. Yes, there are bad things in this world and yes there will be suffering, but believers can rest assured that there is a glorious Kingdom that awaits us.
A place far greater than you could have ever imagined. Do not love the things of the world and be conformed to it. The things that unbelievers live for are temporary and it can all be gone faster than a lightning strike. Live for Christ. Stop trying to fit in. Don’t act how people of this world act, but instead be an imitator of Christ and spread the gospel so others can one day go to their heavenly home.
When I go to speak at places like prisons and treatment centers, places where the individuals have lost EVERYTHING, and I ask them “What matters most to you right now?” The answers are always relation based: My Mom, my Dad, my wife, my children… That certainly wasn’t the case before they were brought to wherever they are at. Same with any of us in life, we get so caught up in the things of the world that give us pleasure, and the things of the world we go to in hopes of finding purpose, fulfilment, and satisfaction in life that we forget the enemy runs this world and will never find purpose in this world.
This is what I do know: Jesus loves you, ESPECIALLY in your brokenness. Here are some of His own words:
“Oh Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; You will strengthen their heart; You will incline Your ear.”
“He raises up the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the ash heap.”
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those crushed in spirit.”
“Call upon Me in the day of trouble and I WILL deliver you.”
“Cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you.”
“Call unto me and I will answer you.”
It wasn’t until I was at the lowest of lows in life that my mind was open enough to do some things I would have never done to try to change the direction I was going in life. It wasn’t until I was broken that I was ready to be repaired, and that’s when God revealed Himself to me. You can take the devastating things that happen in your life and blame God and others, OR, you can see them for what they are and go to the God of all comfort. When you realize we were not made for this world, and all the things that happen to us here cannot compare to the glory of eternity in heaven with Him, then your mindset will be changed. When ALL your hope is on the future eternity with Christ, that is a joy that NO circumstance or situation in life can ever take from you no matter what happens.
Christians are not of this world. We have been adopted as heirs of heaven by God Himself and that is our world, our citizenship (Titus 3:7). And in the meantime we wait (Titus 2:13), and we hope (Romans 5:5), and we do what we can to bring others into the “not of this world” relationship with Jesus Christ. But this world is not our home, and never will be.