A Just God in a Broken World
People often ask, “How can a loving God can allow pain and suffering and injustice in the world?” They may point to overwhelming statistics about human trafficking or poverty or violence. Or maybe their question is motivated by pain and suffering a little closer to home, in their family, relationships, or own life. Whichever type of suffering motivated their question, my answer is the same. I have compassion on them for the pain they’ve experienced or observed, and I can confidently tell them about the hope and confidence I have in Christ in the midst of that very real pain.
The suffering we experience and the injustices we see around us are natural results of the corruption of sin in the world. Whether that sin plays out systemically or within the hearts of individuals, it distorts and corrodes everything it touches. We can all recognize the brokenness around us, but have a sense that it should be different. This innate sense of right and wrong is evidence that we have been made in the image of a just, loving God. God is not far off, looking down at the brokenness of the world with indifference. He sees the pain and injustice around us, and it breaks His heart. He was not content to leave us in these broken spaces. The story of the entire Bible is God’s work to redeem the world and restore us back to Himself.
This weekend we celebrate Easter, a day to remember Christ’s death and resurrection, and His ultimate conquering of sin and death. Through Christ’s death and resurrection, He redeems us as individuals by forgiving us from our sins. But He does more than that. He redeems everything that is broken in the world, including bringing justice to the oppressed and healing to the broken. Jesus, in His perfect sacrifice, was the only one who could redeem our relationship with God, and in the same way He is the only one who can bring redemption and healing to all the broken places of the world. Though redemption was made possible through the work of the cross, He is still working today to bring this to completion. We have hope that pain and injustice are temporary. Because, Revelation 21:3-4 tells us that someday, “The dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Not only is Christ actively working in the world to mend these broken relationships and systems, but He chooses to do it through us! He has chosen and empowered us to be a part of His redemption work. This is the beauty of the Gospel and the Great Commission. Not only is our relationship with our Father restored, but He entrusts us with His great plan for the world. He calls His followers, ordinary people like you and me to carry out His redemption plan in the world. Part of this redemption plan requires us to rise up and take a stand against injustice. This isn’t a new thing. Throughout all of history, God has always used His people to do His work of justice. In the same way that Christ’s redemptive work on the cross was the plan from the beginning of time to restore our relationship with God; we were the plan from the beginning to carry that redemption and restoration into every corner and sphere of the world. He not only calls us, but equips us, and goes with us in this work. We can rejoice that our loving God has a plan to counter all the darkness we see in the world. Even though we have not seen the total fulfillment of this plan yet, we can be confident that it is coming.