I don’t understand.

I have often contemplated life and thought this very thing. Why are people so awful to each other? I don’t understand. Why does my family keep getting sick? I don’t understand. Why is it so hard to love— so scary to learn to love, because we might be rejected? I don’t understand. Why do I keep making the same mistakes over and over— why don’t I learn? I don’t understand. Why does death hurt so much, even when I know I will see them again in heaven? I don’t understand. Why are there people starving? I don’t understand. Why are there so many presidential candidates? I don’t understand.

For some of these questions I might be able to formulate and intellectual answer, but my heart still doesn’t understand. We’ve lost our ability really IMAGE God. Our ability to live according to His LIKENESS is distorted. The other day as my husband and I were discussing the world, I said, “I just want to go home.” As in, HOME. I want to go home. I don’t understand this life. I am tired of it. This wasn’t the plan. This isn’t how God made us to live.

Ah, sin.

Sin messed it all up. Genesis 3 tells the story not just of Adam and Eve, but the story of how all of us fall to sin and deception. We disconnect from God, decide to follow our own hearts and minds instead of listening to our creator, and all hell breaks loose. Literally. At that crucial moment in the Garden of Eden, the realm of earth became the realm of Satan, because we took our God-given authority and gave it to him. We didn’t say, “wait, you’re a snake. I am supposed to have authority over you, not listen to you.” We said, “oh, you’re a snake. You were made out of the dust of the earth. You are saying something that sounds kind of like what God said, but a little different, but it’s intriguing, so what the hell? Sure, I’ll eat that damned fruit. I’ll take your half-truths and trade you my God-given authority. You be in charge, and I’ll eat this fruit that appeals to my selfish pride. I’ll rebel from this one tiny little restriction, not because there isn’t anything else to eat… No, because I just want that. Just because I want it. Because your half-truth tells me it’s a good idea.”

I may offend some of you with this really blunt, kind of angry description, but sometimes I think it can be healthy to be blunt, and real, and call it like it is. Hell and damnation aren’t funny. I sure don’t think the effects of Satan in our world are at all funny or to be taken lightly. I am angry sometimes, and I think God is also angry and sad. Because the broken life that most of us live is surely not the abundant life that Jesus came to ensure.

Someday, though… someday we will experience that fully, when we see God face to face. The good news that we can cling to when we feel buried by the sad realities of sin and damage, is that Jesus has provided salvation for us, and a hard-to-live but extremely TRUE reality that Satan only gets to have as much control as we let him have. We cannot control the way other people live, or many other things about this life, but we do get to connect with God and receive HIS resources for the ways we respond to what happens around us. The moment we reach out, and call out to God, His strength, His peace, His joy, and His truth are there to rescue us and keep our souls free, even when our circumstances say otherwise. As long as we are connected to God, Satan doesn’t win!

I don’t understand this world sometimes, and I do get weary of facing it and its troubles and uncertainties. But I DO understand that JESUS WINS, and with Him, I get to Win too!

Jesus, help me to cling to YOUR TRUTH and YOUR LIFE. Help me not to exchange my God-given authority for the enslavement Satan offers with his half-truths and silky deceptions. Help me keep in mind Your promises for a future and a hope that are beautiful and beyond my greatest expectation. I love you. And what’s even better, You loved me first! Help me live in that love, not in my own partial understanding or discouragement.

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