Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Two Fundamental Facts of Life (as told by an orthodox rebel)

"Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all." Ps. 34:19

"Many are the afflictions...." This world is a terrible place, its remnant beauties continually caught in the looming shadow of the Fall. There is a darkness here that does not sleep. As night is continually somewhere on this earth, so evil stalks us without pause. Too much of mainstream Christianity is a naive, sheltered affair: the religion of amiable smiles and white picket fences. Those who say that "God is in His heaven and all is right with the world" mean well, but they are wrong on both counts. Things are certainly not right with the world, and it is good that we fully grasp that fact. Perhaps our "relevancy" would raise just a bit if we took the reality of evil seriously; the Cross, which stands at the center of our faith, reveals that God takes evil seriously. Yes, a better day is coming, but we're not home yet. For now, we live, not in naivete, but in hope, hope in the midst of wretched shadows.

"...but the Lord delivers...." Furthermore, God is certainly not just "in His heaven". He is with us, in the midst of those wretched shadows as well. We err (and do an unbelieving world a disservice) by ignoring the darkness, but we equally err by placing the light completely far off. The dawn is indeed in the distance, but the stars are out right now, "glowing knives" that "cut right through this darkened sky." Redemption is a current affair, not a far off dream. Now is the day of salvation far more than tomorrow is. In addition, as the body of Christ, those indwelt by the Spirit of God, we carry about in our mortal flesh the presence of God Almighty, and we serve as a continuation of Christ's ministry until He comes to finish and fulfill it. Thus, God is not simply in His heaven; he walks and works still in the dark and twisted environment that we are so used to and yet so weary of. So let us say instead, in contradiction to those well-meaning fellows mentioned earlier, "All is not right with the world, but God is with us."

-Jon Vowell (c) 2010

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