Faith

What Do We Do with the Pain and Sin of This World?

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I grew up with an ideal all-American childhood. Life couldn’t get better: swim parties in the summer, hay rides in the fall, snow sledding in the winter, and softball each spring. I knew nothing of the ravishing poverty in the world, the drug epidemic sweeping the nation, nor did I know of the heartbreak most families see. My world was perfect.

However, as they say, “all good things come to an end.” In my senior year of high school, I became involved in the political realm. My eyes slowly but surely opened to the heart-wrenching pain that the world faces. English writer, novelist, and philosopher Aldous Huxley once said, “The more you know, the more you see.” All at once my eyes were opened; it was crushing, completely and absolutely. I saw the selfishness of man and the acute pain it causes. I was awakened to the agony of poverty, disease, and death. I knew in my head that the world was painful, yet my heart had never connected the emotion. Finally, after living for years in my perfect world, God broke my heart. I was grief-stricken by the world and I felt the pain deep within my chest with every breath I took.

I went to the only place I knew to find answers: the Word of God.  Here I saw the same pain and confusion, but also a response especially in the writings of David in the Psalms. David also saw and felt this pain and confusion. In Psalm 27, David spoke what my heart felt: “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

If we look at the life of David, a man after God’s own heart, we see that he views sin with deep grief. Over and over again, David talks about God holding him and keeping him, even in the darkest times. If not for God he would have despaired. If not for God he would have lost hope. David says, “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses.”

David gets it. He understands that although the trials of this life are real, sin has not won. Jesus overthrew death and sin on the cross, giving us an entirely new view of living in a sin cursed world. In the book of John, Jesus says, “I have said these things to you that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  Jesus was speaking to His disciples about providing ultimate victory over death and suffering.

Do we as Christians grasp this? Can we truly understand what Jesus is saying? It’s a truth that has a colossal impact and one which I believe David understood. The trials of this life are real, pain is part of the fallen world, and sin is ravishing. Yet David speaks truth over and over again. He reminds us that life is full of pain, heartbreak, and uncertainty. However, he also reminds us that Jesus, in His beautiful glory and grace has overcome the world. When we despair, we look to the cross with renewed faith knowing that the sin which holds this earth is not eternal — it has an end date because Jesus has won. He has overcome and has won the victory over pain, depression, heartbreak, poverty, abortion, and all other vices which tear this world apart.

When we know these truths with our heart, we are set free from unrealistic expectations. We are saddened by sin, but not destroyed. We are hurt by the state of the world, but not in despair. We look and see sweet victory, eternal victory, which is the reason for life regardless of pain. This is the reason we keep choosing to “see” the needs. We as Christians will open our arms wide to pain and heartache. The hurt of this world is temporary, but life with Jesus is eternal.

Rejoice, dear friends, we no longer fight the sin of this world to win; we are ambassadors of Truth because He has already won the victory. In that we can rejoice even in the darkest of days.