A few years ago I did a funeral for a 27-year-old gang banger. He had no parents so his 18-year-old sister was responsible for orchestrating the service. He had three kids by two different women: a 12-year-old, a 7-year-old, and an infant. He was known for his outspoken atheism, fits of depression, rage, and “live for the moment” attitude. One night he was baby sitting his infant son. Overwhelmed with sadness he laid the sleeping baby in the crib, intentionally overdosed on heroin, curled up beneath the baby’s bed, and died.
This world is broken.
A few New Years Eve’s ago I went to visit a family in the shock trauma wing of the hospital. The youngest member of the family, a 15-year-old boy, had an undetected heart problem. One minute he was upstairs in his room listening to music and reading a book, the next he was on the floor raging with seizures. The young man was already dead, but he was an organ donor so the doctors were keeping his body going until they could harvest his organs. The shock trauma waiting room was full of teens softly sobbing. The sniffles and mones of pain harmonzed togethr as an orchestra of pain and loss. The boy’s room was very different. The four other family members sat in the room in complete shock. It was the saddest silence I’ve ever heard. I simply sat down with them. There was nothing that could be said. A few hours later the doctors got everything they needed and the machines were turned off.
This world is broken.
This week I went to the hospital to visit the parents of a seven month old little girl who is dying of a rare genetic disease. All of the baby’s systems are shutting down. She is in pain all the time. The remainder of her life will be spent wrapped in a blanket laying in a small crib. She cries constantly, but can’t be held because she is so fragile. The mother asked if my friend and I if we would sit with her while she went to the bathroom. She didn’t want her daughter left alone. I stood next the crib gently rubbing the dying childs arms, softly shushing her, wishing their was something I could do to take her pain away.
This world is broken.
Three things were in harmony: humanity, God, and the world. Then we denied God’s Lordship (Genesis 3) and all the relationships crumbled.
Look at what God said the consequences of denying his Lordship were:
To the snake, “I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head and you will strike his heel.”
To the woman, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
To the man, “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life…By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.
I don’t think God took pleasure in these consequences. I don’t think he liked doing it. I think it pained Him deeply. I imagine God wept as humanity left the garden.
Then Cain kills Abel. Then the whole Noah disaster. Then the Noah and his kids stuff. And finally, humanity built a tower seeking equality with God.
The relationship between God and humanity – broken.
The relationship between people – broken.
The relationship between humanity and the world – broken.
When things go bad I’m tempted to say things like, “God has a plan,” or “It will all work out for good in the end,” or “We just don’t understand what He is doing right now.” These phrases feel good because they deny the injustice and chaos all around us.
When I did the gang funeral; when I stood in the hospital room with the teens family; when I rubbed the dying babies arm saying those phrases would have been more about bringing me comfort – not the ones really hurting.
The truth is this world is full of pain, sadness, and injustice. Things are not how they were supposed to be and it sucks.
It’s all broken.
Now that we have established what it was supposed to be and what it is, lets start looking at how God wants us (His kids) to fix it. How are we to represent Him?
(to be continued)