Pain, Power, and Patience

In general I take a positive outlook on life. I enjoy getting up each day, going to work, and being alive. I can't remember a day when I dreaded getting up to face the world, but as I get older the weight of the pain in the world presses down on me.

There are 9 ongoing conflicts with more than 1,000+ deaths per year, and 32 conflicts with less than 1,000 deaths per year. These may not seem like huge numbers, but we need to keep in perspective what these conflicts are all about and their impact on the people involved. In all of these conflicts people are willing to kill to get what they want, or need to be killed to stop them from getting what they want. There are some people who think this only happens in non-civilized countries, but that is just wishful thinking. The reason that "civilized" countries don't get involved as often in these conflicts is because we have enough money to get what we want. There would be a lot more conflict if we had less money.

Death comes unexpectedly and throws a family into turmoil. Like a ship without a mast, they are left adrift in the swells of the ocean of life. Barely a year goes by without this happening to somebody you know, or being set afloat yourself. There are those who wake up each day and live with chronic pain, or a chronic disease, if only they could sleep to forget about the challenges of the day ahead.

A child sues her parents, gay people attempt to bankrupt people who don't agree with them, politician's don't agree on anything and lie through their teeth. Family's feud and friends aren't there when you need them. Feelings of loneliness and despair are rampant in our society.

What are we to do?

War, politics, and ignorance will not solve these problems. The only hope that this world has is an inner transformation of each person, that enables us to put other people's needs before our own. Those who worship at the altar of Progress need to take their head out of the sand and look at the state of the world. We are not progressing. There is just as much pain as there has ever been. If we attempt to change people by rules, then power will rule the day. And power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

However, there is hope in the message of Jesus. The good news is that if we believe in Jesus, He gives us the power to change, to love our enemies, and to be wronged without reacting. As heavy as the pain of the world is today, we can have confidence that in time the scales will be balanced and justice will be done.
And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away (Is. 51:11).


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