This month we continue to look at some of the responses to the Who Cares? survey which the churches in Hook conducted earlier this year.
A common theme that came out concerned injustice in the world. Typical things that respondents said hurt them the most included:
‘All the evil in the world where innocent people are hurt and lives destroyed’
‘Awful stuff in the news - abuse, terrorism’
‘The future environment’
Hardly a day seems to go by when some new tragedy is reported in the news. Around the time of our survey there had been a number of terrorist attacks both here in the UK and in Europe. We had also watched with horror the images of the Grenfell Tower’s fire. Even this week as I write we have heard of people tragically killed due to the strong winds that swept across our country. Yet these were a fraction of the devastation that has hit the Americas and Caribbean during this year’s hurricane season.
When we watch the news reports or read about them in the papers or on social media it is hard not be moved by the suffering of fellow human beings. It is also hard not to wonder where God is in all this. It seems so unfair that people, especially children, should suffer in such a way through no fault of their own. Surely if there is really a God he would care about such tragedies and he would come down and do something about it.
The message of the bible is that he has, just not quite what we might expect. The bible is clear that the origin of all injustice is the sin of humankind beginning with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Even before they ate the forbidden fruit God devised a plan to rescue us culminating in the day when he will restore heaven and earth to its original state of perfection, only without sin, suffering or sadness. However in order to do this God’s plan is not to deal with the symptoms of injustice but to deal with the cause. He sent Jesus to come and live as a man, to share our common humanity.
Jesus knew what it was to live as an alien refugee in a foreign land. He knew what it was to be the survivor of genocide. He knew what it was to be ostracised because his mother was unmarried. He knew what it was to lose his father and have to take responsibility for his siblings while he was young. He knew what it was to live in a land occupied by enemy forces. He knew what is was to be rejected by his family. He knew what it was to be betrayed by his friends. He knew what it was to be the victim of a miscarriage of justice. Why?
Jesus went through all this so that by his death the sin which resides in each of us could be forgiven and defeated. He experienced injustice so that we can receive the promise of eternal life and look forward to the day when all injustice will finally be eradicated.
You might ask ‘Then why are we still waiting for the day of Christ’s return?’ The bible tells us that ‘The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.’ (2 Peter 3:9 NIV 2011)
The delay is because he loves you and wants you to turn to him. The invitation is there for you to respond to him in faith today.