My upcoming novel Fallen recreates the human story of the beginning. In Eden all was light, love, and harmony. But, through Adam’s disobedience, we now experience sin, suffering, and senseless violence, for we are all now sinners.
People pick up guns and kill others, strangers they don’t even know. Religious views held by extremists motivate horrendous acts of degradation, including the kidnapping and rape of little girls, the murder of children, and the slaughter of families who cannot escape. Persons living in free societies are gunned down in cafes, concert halls, stadiums, markets, and on city streets. Airplanes are blown out of the sky.
As my husband and I watched the investigation and stunned response of the Parisians this past weekend, we relived the horror and revulsion we experienced when we lived across the street from the Columbine High School massacre.
I don’t like the fact that we know firsthand how long bodies must remain in place during a police investigation, or what it feels like to know that the nearby dead still lie as they fell, the police work having not been completed. I never wanted to be familiar with the chilling sensation of close-to-home violent death, mayhem, spilled blood, and corpses.
My life illustrates the effect of sin in the world, and so does yours. No one knows what the future holds, or what tragedies will occur in the world around us. Like you, we’ve escaped at times we were surprised to live and we’ve also been blessed with unexpected reprieves of peace and tranquility.
Life on this earth is frightening, uncertain, and culminates in our death. If we have sensitive and introspective natures, this world can seem pretty horrific at times.
Yet life here calls us to go into these frightening situations and serve hurting people, to help people fleeing from terrorists. We’re to feed the hungry, the homeless, and the foreigner, and to look for love, kindness, and the image of God in our fellowman. These are there in larger degree. See the outpouring all over the world.
I don’t understand his selfless and sacrificial love. It’s beyond my comprehension. Knowing the darkest of our degradations, still he clothed himself in human flesh and became one of us. Planning to experience pain and the cruelest of deaths, he came so he could die like us.
He chose to experience the cold chill of death, the terror of the cruel, the touch of the whip, and the piercing of the nail. The things we run from, he embraced.
He did it out of love. Love for me. Love for you. He teaches us how to love.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16-17).
In his death, he bore our murders, rapes, violence, harsh words, illicit sex, unkind thoughts, and selfishness. He carried the weight of human sin heaped upon him, bearing the wrath of God that we deserved, and sacrificing himself to obtain forgiveness for us.
Why? Simply because he loves us. He rose from the dead to make us free. Holding his nail-scarred hands wide, he says, “Come to me, all you who are weary, who carry heavy loads, and I will give you rest.”
Belief and commitment to Christ do not protect us from terrorists who stalk by day, criminals who prowl by night, diseases that invade our frames, or strife that tears apart our families. Such things are the ways of this fallen world.
But trusting Jesus and loving him does mean we’re guaranteed to have his help and his strength to rely on when the hardships come, and they will come. It means we have his promise that he will orchestrate even our most horrific circumstances for our good. Trusting him means that when we die, we will live with him forever, and that one day he himself will bring justice and eternal healing.
In a world that has contained strife and uncertainty since Adam, Jesus himself is the greatest blessing of eternal worth and consequence. We navigate this uncertain life with the hope of heaven, the love of God, and the help of a Savior.
And these make all the difference.