The Hope of Redemption

There are two things to motivate me writing this post.

First, I’m preparing a lesson for the senior high class tomorrow which will conclude a three-part series on the scope of biblical history. The first lesson was on “how things were,” the second was on “how things are,” and the third will be on “how things will be.” The series has essentially followed the motif of Creation-Fall-Redemption.

Second, I am in the midst of watching numerous friends go through deep suffering and tragedy. One of my closest friends, a young guy with a wife and two little girls is having surgery to remove some lymph nodes on Monday. He was diagnosed with cancer a few months ago, and although the doctors thought the original surgery took care of it, they recently discovered that it has moved into at least two lymph nodes. This same friend had to go through the pain of having his step-father commit suicide a few months ago. My wife has had several friends go through the pain of miscarriage recently. And yesterday I discovered that my sister has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I want to fight the fight of faith as I hear all of these troublesome tales. But in the back of my mind, there’s a question: Why? Why do these things happen? Why must people suffer as they do?

I don’t have all the answers, but one thing I do know that helps us answer that question is this: the world is a broken place, our lives are in shambles, this is not as it was supposed to be. I have referenced this book before, but I will do it again. Cornelius Plantinga, Jr. has written one of the best books I’ve ever read, entitled Not The Way It’s Supposed To Be. His whole point in the book is to remind us that the tragedy, pain, and suffering we see and experience was not originally intended. It is not as it was supposed to be, but sin entered the picture and has wreaked havoc on everything, our lives, our earth, our weather, our bodies, absolutely everything ever since.

There are a couple thoughts sticking with me this morning that I’ll share. One, salvation and redemption must have a context. Christ said this in Mark 2:17 – ‚ÄúThose who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” We are all sick, and we all live in a sick world. The question then becomes do we really know that we are sick, do we really know things aren’t the way they’re supposed to be? Redemption makes no sense without the fall. So as painful as tragedies are in your life or those around you, they should only push us to be more in awe and more grateful for the redemption that Christ provided on the Cross.

Two, the realization that life isn’t as it should be should make us long for heaven in a real and heartfelt way. I can often walk around this world, as broken as it is, and enjoy it so much. And that is a good thing, for God created this world and therefore we should expect to find many wonderful and enjoyable things within it. But this is not our final destination. God has promised a New Heaven and a New Earth that is going to exceed any dream we could have. So as I watch suffering and pain, I want to remind myself of the glory that will be mine when Christ comes back. That is what I should be living for and longing for.

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