I wrote recently about how it can be easy to get overwhelmed when we think of social justice because there are so many problems, and they are just so big. It feels impossible that I could make a difference. When I thought about why I hadn't felt like writing lately, I realized it was because I was starting to feel that way. I was overwhelmed by how many injustices were going on in this world and felt it was easier not to think too hard about them than to process all of it.
Social media is great for many reasons, and terrible for many others. A few weeks ago, the terrible aspects were quite prominent. As I've scrolled through my news feed in the last few months, I've read articles about Christians being murdered at a university in Kenya, about a devastating earthquake in Nepal, followed by many tremors and a lot of social breakdown, a report about ISIS and the terror they've systematically been spreading through the Middle East, the quickly escalating protests in Burundi, an update from an organization about the horrible conditions in South Sudan. After a while I began to feel hopeless. There is so much suffering, so much hate, and so much despair in the world. How can I feel empathy for all these people? How can I care about all these issues without becoming a blubbering mess who can't function properly?
The only answer I could come up with is: I don't know. The world is a mess, and there's no denying that. We've done a really great job at screwing it up.
So I didn't want to think about it. I didn't want to write about justice because it would make me think about all the injustice. And I didn't think I could handle dealing with all that despair. All that hopelessness.
Fortunately, when I feel this way, God generally doesn't let me push it all aside and be apathetic for very long. After sometime I began feeling like I really needed to write. Which meant I had to think about all these ugly truths and enter into the despair. But as I thought of what I could possibly say that was uplifting and helpful in any way, I realized I don't have to. I don't have to face the hopelessness. Because, though it's often hard to see, there is hope. In Revelation 21, John gives us a glimpse of what the world will be like once Jesus has returned and renewed it, and there is no hopelessness in it.
"He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."
When we take a hard look at this world, things look bleak. But, as Christians, we are called not to set our eyes on the world, but on the God who made it, who spoke it into being, and who has a plan for it. He's waiting for as many as possible to come to Him, and then, with His return, He'll bring justice to this earth, and wipe away every tear. There will be no more despair, but a whole lot of rejoicing.
Earlier this month, as I thought about justice, I got caught up in the injustices, in the problems. But that's not what I'm called to. Injustice is an ugly repercussion to our sin. But what was originally intended was love, grace, selflessness, and justice. As a Christ-follower, I have been invited to help usher in the Kingdom of God, the kingdom of hope - the kingdom of justice. As we work on this earth to try to set right the things that have gone wrong, though our efforts seem tiny and inconsequential, we have hope because we know the One who will ultimately set all things right, and we have hope in His return, when all these things will pass away.
It's often difficult not to feel despair when we think of all the wars, famines, natural disasters and hate in this world, but the beautiful truth is that, though it may often seem like these things are winning, in the end they stand no chance. These things are horrible, yes, but they're also temporary. The world was not created to be this way, and will not remain this way. Those who suffer will know joy, those in pain will know relief, and those who hunger will be filled. There is hope.