It's been 285 days since we've had measurable snowfall in Chicago. It's not right.
It's getting harder and harder to find foods in the form in which God made them. It's not right.
Two of my good friends are struggling under the weight of chronic illness which, among other sadnesses, compromises their ability to care for their children. It's not right.
A little boy, less than six months old, has a near brush with death because of a brain tumor. It's not right.
Twenty children die in an elementary school shooting. It's not right.
The world is broken. Creation is unraveling. Things are not the way they are supposed to be.
Repay evil with evil or overcome evil with good? Seek vengeance or forgiveness? Doubt everything and everyone or trust? Come to terms with what is or seek change? Preserve and protect or let go? Save or give? Despair or hope? These are the tensions that we live into every day. Since the dawn of time, human hearts have been conflicted.
Recently, my kids are getting to the age when they're asking the perennial questions of evil. "God can control the weather, so why doesn't He stop hurricanes? Why doesn't God wipe out the mosquitoes that cause malaria? Ordinary mosquitoes are bad enough! Why do we have to get the flu? Why do people shoot each other?" Different clothes on the same question body... "Why are things so broken?" It's not right.
And my heart aches... because it's true. Things are so broken. The world is not the way it's supposed to be. It's not right.
Just by speaking, God made everything! In the beginning, everything was good. Adam and Eve were happy to be made in God's own image. God was glad, because when He looked at His world, He saw that everything was right... Adam and Eve trusted God's strong and powerful words.
Satan crept into the garden, looking like a snake. Satan hated God. Satan wanted to BE God and would do whatever it took to turn God's people away from God. And so he asked questions... about God's goodness, about God's word, and about God's good rule. Adam and Eve had a very important choice. They could choose to listen to the strong and powerful words of their good King, or they could listen to Satan. Adam and Eve were very confused... was God good? Did He want their best? What would it be like to rule over themselves? And so they took the fruit...
What an incredibly sad day... Their relationship with their good King had been broken. Adam and Eve blamed each other and grew distant. Because of their sin, all of creation began to unravel... sickness... sadness... pain... death. The world that had been right and good was now broken and terribly wrong.
Disease, hunger, violence, pain, arguments, war, fear, hate... it's not right.
But on this incredibly sad day, God also had good news. God promised that one day, He would send Someone who would come and crush Satan and break his power over God's people.
As we remember Advent, we remember the fulfillment of that promise. A light shines into the darkness and the darkness has not, cannot, and will not overcome it. There is peace again between God's people. And our relationship with our good King has been restored.
But even in the midst of these promises that have already been fulfilled. We know that there's still more to come.
One day, all of creation will be made right again. There will be no more sickness, no more sadness, no more pain, no more death. At His second Advent, there will once again be a special place where God dwells among His people... when we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He truly is. God Himself will be our King and will live among us and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
And so even as we live in the midst of the already and await the not yet, we can proclaim that Christ is coming to make everything right... to make all things new... Christ IS overcoming pain and sadness and sickness and death... and we CAN hope, because Christ is coming back to make all things right!
Lord Jesus, I long for the world to be made right. Come, Lord Jesus, in your mercy.