Ruth McGarahan works at the BBC and is a member of theMediaNet Steering Group. In this week's Inspire she gives us a reason to keep on running when life is tough.
I meet many people who are desperately disillusioned by the church and by a God who seems to have completely forgotten about them. There may be a number of reasons and underlying factors that have led to such disappointments but I imagine that lots of these people have been damaged by an unhelpful adherence to the ‘Jesus is my sunshine’ philosophy. This way of thinking proposes that when we turn our lives over to Jesus, we shun all pain and sorrow and God makes everything happy and shiny. If things go wrong and prayers are not answered, it is because there is something wrong with us – our faith is lacking and our perception of God is too small.
This is such a damaging and wholly unbiblical perspective. Of course God wants everything to be happy and shiny and of course it breaks His heart when He sees His children destroying one another and damaging his beautiful creation and of course He weeps with those who are hurting.
However, we live in a clearly fallen world – we only have to read a few lines of the news to see that our society is desperately broken.
God’s original plan for our world was perfection but with our God given free will, we messed up and consequently distorted God’s paradise.
That doesn’t mean that it’s all doom and gloom; it’s realism and more importantly, it fills us with hope. Our current tragic situation isn’t what God originally intended therefore it isn’t how He will leave it. This is not the final story – there will be restoration.
We live in the interim between "now" and "not yet." Martin Luther describes this apparent dichotomy beautifully: ‘This life therefore is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness; not health but healing…We are not yet what we shall be but we are growing toward it; the process is not yet finished but it is going on, this is not the end but it is the road. All does not yet gleam in glory but all is being purified.’
Of course we should pray for and expect miracles - and where we can we should play our part in bringing justice, healing and restoration on earth. But we should not be disappointed when we face the inevitable struggles, heartache and unanswered prayer because we know that there is a future hope - one day all will be restored.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” Revelation 21v4-5