Life is beautiful.
The gift of life and its experiences are truly amazing. And while it would be great to imagine a life and a world where we only experienced beauty and good, we know that reality to simply be false.
Life is broken.
The reality of pain and disappointment is something I don’t have to explain to anybody. We all understand.
But what we often fail to understand is that while God doesn’t necessarily will such pain and tragedy to be a part of our lives, God is with us…even in the broken and perhaps, especially in the broken.
You see, if God is only present in the good, triumphs, victories, highs, and blessings of our lives, we’ve all been duped. Seriously duped.
That would be a false gospel. Please, don’t believe in a false gospel.
As a pastor, I’ve often had the front row view of these incredibly hard moments in people’s lives:
Sickness, betrayal, isolation, depression, death, cancer, and the list goes on and on.
I think part of the reason why “the broken” is so difficult for us to handle is that we never plan or want to plan for such things. Do we ever plan for disappointment? Pain? Hardship? Brokenness? Do we ever pray for it? In our sense of idealism, fairness, and even faith, we believe that “everything” will be good since the world was “fixed.”
Well, we know that is simply not the case. It’s not the case for the world. It’s not the case for the friend or acquaintance we hear about, but we don’t ever want to believe that can be the case for “me.”
Things don’t always turn out the way we envision in our lives. We try. We pursue. We dream. But we come to realize that we have fallen short in a fallen world. Others have fallen short. We are simply broken people living in a broken world. And while skeptics and cynics will chomp on the opportunity to deride Christians for our “naiveté,”
This is the great hope of the Gospel:
Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?…For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Romans 8:33-39]
For me, there is no silver bullet or magic theological answer. The good news is NOT that God guarantees a life of absolute bliss, blessing, and perfection but that in all seasons of our lives,
God is with us.
And in the big picture of God’s meta-narrative, all things will be restored back unto Himself. Shalom will be fully restored. Beauty will have the final say.
Know this and live in this truth:
God loves you.
Eugene Cho is the co-founder (with his wife) and executive director of One Day’s Wages—“a movement of People, Stories, and Actions to alleviate extreme global poverty.” He is also the founding and lead pastor of Quest Church and the founder and executive director of Q Cafe—a non-profit community cafe and music venue in Seattle. Eugene is considered one of the prominent bloggers on issues of justice, faith, ministry and utilizing social media for good. You can follow him via his blog or Twitter.