We live in a world that is filled with challenges on many fronts: environmental, political, social, relational… the list is long. Where is God in all this? Sitting on the sidelines watching? It sometimes seems that way, but the truth is deeper than that: God is not on the sidelines. He’s in the middle of our messy world with us, and he’s not here to simply observe. God has provided everything we need for life and godliness and wills our good in every instance, but at the same time he respects us enough to allow us to make our own choices.
Being God, he could surely have shaped us anyway he chose. If he had wanted instantly obedient automatons, he could have certainly made us that way, but apparently God had something else in mind because he shaped a creature with incredible gifts and talents. Then he gave us the opportunity to choose for ourselves the kind of person we will be.
To help us make wise choices, the Holy Spirit lovingly prompts us to do good and corrects us when we choose to be bad. And at some point he invites us to become followers of Jesus. When we accept God’s invitation, the Spirit moves inside us and begins to change our hearts. We begin to see the world through God’s eyes. Our faith grows and our fears diminish. Our indifference is replaced with compassion. We learn to forgive as God has forgiven us.
It may sound trite, but the simple truth is that our world will only change when we change. Some of us resist this truth because we still hang on to the hope that technology and science will give us a better world. That we will somehow outgrow our natural instincts and one day no longer hate one another. We hope science will allow us to stop abusing the powerless and instigating wars. We think our technological advancements are the way to increasingly make our planet better.
Really? Is that what science and technology have done? Made the planet better? History tells a different story. The “science will be our savior” myth was destroyed in the skies over Hiroshima. And those who lived through that time will tell you that even though we were on the winning side, something in our gut told us we were all losers in this. Science wasn’t creating a better world. It was creating a more dangerous one.
We learn over the course of life that stuff isn’t always as it seems. Once upon a time I was interested in looking for good ideas. Not any more. I quit looking for good ideas and began looking for a good life. Why? Because a lot of the good ideas I heard about didn’t really change my life much. I came to believe that the truth I was looking for had to do more than change my mind. It needed to change my life. More on that in part three…