By Phil |
I was reading an article recently that got me thinking about how this past year was the ugliest year in memory for most people. Not just individually, but collectively, in our communities, nationally, even globally… we were all impacted by various struggles.
Last year was full of hurricanes, tornadoes, and enormous wildfires across the west coast. Racial injustice and atrocities lead to unrest across the world. This nation, deeply divided, held a bitter election season that culminated in the storming of the Capitol building, in one of the most surreal scenes in recent memory.
It’s been 12 months and we still have COVID. Still we have COVID. And still, thousands die daily.
We’ve had murders, lonliness is growing, depression and mental health issues are growing, suicide continues to climb. It’s tempting to believe this year is judgment from God. In fact, this is a point I’ve seen made several times. Many Christian people seem to believe that America has become corrupted and is therefore deserving of judgment. Like the end is near or something.
But let’s gain some perspective. Y2K was the same rhetoric in 2000. 9-11 was the same in 2001. Hurricane Katrina was the same in 2005.
We’ve been faced with multiple bad things before, but it wasn’t judgment then and it isn’t judgment now.
I just wanna say, the idea of “national judgment” is just bad theology. God doesn’t have a group-specific contract with people.
This was true.
Now we have a personal-level relationship with God that is open to all people and not predicated on our ability to keep the law.
But beyond that, what makes it bad theology is that it diminishes the character of our good, redemptive, slow-to-anger God.
I get it. There is pain and brokenness in the world, but that does not mean that God is angry at us. The evidence of homelessness, calamity, disease or pandemic is not God’s fault. He didn’t send it.
Despite all of these things, this ugliness – Christ is for us and nothing can separate us from God’s love.
Is there evil? Yes. And we fight it. We push back darkness at work. But don’t assume God is against you. He is fighting the darkness too.
Divorce isn’t God’s judgement against you. Burst pipes in your home aren’t evidence of God being against you. Losing loved ones isn’t either. And neither is dealing with a global viral pandemic.
These things are not the loving Father’s doing. But we fight against them with him.
We fight natural disasters, injustice, death, fear. We fight because we have an enemy.
We fight because we believe we will win. I don’t think I will. I’m certain I will. I know that when Jesus is the center, I don’t care where I am at in the process, all I do is win.
When you fight, remember this…God is with you, not against you. If you are tired, rest, for his burden is easy. If you’ve got it in you, push back the darkness. And don’t for a second believe that Jesus is not for you.
God emptied himself of all of his power and glory, and put on a broken, tempted, tired body to show us that. This God, our God revealed fully in Jesus, loves. Even when we’ve messed it all up, when we hide from him, and when we hate him.
God is not mad at you.
The most important thing you could possibly hear today is this: God is good, and He loves you. He is trustworthy and kind. That’s why this past year of darkness and struggle wasn’t caused or sent by God. Jesus is the evidence of that.
So push back the darkness. When you’re done… rest.
God is for you.
He is with you.
He is for you.