Paradise or There and Back Again

I heard this song not long ago and I love it.  I’ve not been a huge Coldplay fan in the past, but this song is great.  It’s almost a kind of hopeful lament which resounds in my heart every time I hear it now.  Why is that?

“Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.”     -1 Peter 2:11

Sojourners and exiles.  That’s who we are.  Why do I feel out of place everywhere I go?  It’s not because I’m socially inept and it’s not because I’m depressed with the circumstances of my life.  I love my family, I enjoy my jobs, I am blessed when I can teach the Scriptures, and I am encouraged when I can witness to others.  I feel out of place because THIS IS NOT MY HOME! This earth does not feel like home and it doesn’t function like home.  We were not meant to live in a place like this.

Genesis 1 & 2 depict the creation of the world, everything in it, and everything outside of it.  It says that God planted a garden in Eden and when he created man he placed him in it.   This garden was in the midst of nothingness.  Genesis 2 describes it by saying that it was planted before any other plant had sprung from the earth.  It was lush and green and near an abundance of water, and there was much fruit to be enjoyed.  We were put there to “subdue the land” and to have dominion over all of the animal kingdom.  Most importantly, we were meant to walk in relationship with God and we were never meant to die.  This is a concept that is hard to fully grasp, but it shows how we are no where near where we were meant to be: walking with God, stewarding the earth well, and enjoying our existence all of the time forever and ever.  To me, that sounds like paradise.  But we’re not there, and truly I say, anyone who thinks that the earth is a wonderful place is either naive or self-deceptive.

A young victim of the Libyan revolution

The world would say that we as a species are evolved.  We are on a road to progress and while bad things happen, the end result will be good.  For instance, a war that claims the lives of thousands or more including women and children is bad, but in the end humanity will move forward and we’re ultimately one step closer to utopia.  They may not use those exact words, but the idea is the same.  We try to make it easier by turning people like the little girl above into a statistic or simply ignoring them all together.

This heartless philosophy is nothing more than Hegelian dialectic reasoning, the outdated philosophy that was later adopted and modified by Karl Marx.  Hegel coined the term the cunning of reason which takes the notion of reason as the sole reality using whatever happens to progress humanity and civilization to it’s own end.  This abstract concept is all but forgotten by Americans but it sounds an awful lot like the consensus of the society in which we live.

A soldier standing in the rubble of post-war Bosnia.

I do not believe in the cunning of reason, and I do not believe in coincidence.  These two may not sound like they are related in any way, but truth be told they are both terms used by the secular to try to explain the providence of God.  Providence is the fact that while God is not evil, nor is he tempted to be evil, he can use any circumstance which may include the evil within our sinful world and race to bring about good.

Here’s the truth friends: We’ve all been lied to.  Human society may be progressing technologically, but we’re not progressing morally, ethically, or physically.  We are all going to die.  We are all going to get sick, and suffer pain and heartache.  Some of us will be persecuted while others of us will be the persecutors.  It’s just the way it is because we are all born with sin.

23-year-old Indian woman who was raped and later died from her injuries in early 2013.

If you’re a Christian and you’re reading this, does it make you angry?  Even in the least bit?  I think about the millions of men, women and children who are sold in human trafficking every year, about the rape victims and the child soldiers who are exploited, the women and children who are killed as we drop bombs on “strategic targets” resulting in “collateral damage” and I just rage inside!

As I’ve said before: THIS IS NOT OUR HOME! We were not meant to live and endure in this way.  We were meant to live in peace with God and instead we are dying from chaos and destruction.  It’s hard for me at times to look past these things.  The world is so wicked, I have a hard time remembering that this is not all there is.  There is hope.

“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse!  The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war… And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses.”     -Revelation 19:11-14 (abridged)

Jesus is coming back for us.  This time he will not be coming in humility, he’ll be coming in glory and he is going to destroy the corruption and the wickedness of this world.  It says that when he comes he will judge and make war.  A few verses later it says that he will subdue all of the nations as the King of kings and the Lord of lords.  He is the alpha ruler over all authorities;  and he is compassionate.  He will wipe away our tears and relieve our suffering.  He will judge righteously everything we say and do.  He is going to defeat Satan and his demons and deliver his people from everything we have endured.  And finally he will bring us back into paradise.

“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.  And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man.  He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will be with them as their God… and I saw no temple in this city, for it’s temple is the Lord God almighty and the Lamb.  And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.”     – Revelation 21:1-3, 22-23

 

Take heart because Jesus is alive and he will return to make all things right.

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One comment

  1. I love you, thank you for your passion! I am so thankful that you stand in the gap for these people. Pray for them without ceasing until we see the Lord face to face.

    Like

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