Have you ever asked yourself the question “What kind of world do we live in?” Usually it is asked when we witness or hear of something horrible happening.
There have been many times in my life when I have asked myself that. And I caught myself doing it again this week, when the high school had 3 threats to it, in 8 days this past week. This sent the school and the elementary and middle school in close proximity into lockdown.
It ended up being a “hoax”, but this hoax caused a lot of anxiety and fear in the city we live in, and probably left a lot of people thinking “what kind of world do we live in?”.
This is usually the time of year that is full of joy, and yet, I wonder if many of us are feeling that Christmas is feeling less than usual again.
Who are you Jesus that the suffering of the innocent was worth it?
Shortly after Jesus was born (what we celebrate this time of year), the Magi came to worship Him and bring him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh (those are good gifts by the way!). The problem with this was they went to Jerusalem, but the prophets had foretold that He would be born in Bethlehem. When King Herod heard they had seen His star and had come to worship Him, he got a bit (okay… a lot) disturbed because Jesus was getting the attention and worship that he wanted. I mean, the promise on Jesus’ life was immense. He was promised to be a ruler who would be a shepherd to all of God’s people.
Herod tried to recruit the Magi to find the child and report back to him. The Magi halfway did as they were told, but when they found the child with his mother, they were overjoyed and bowed down, worshipped Him, and presented Him with gifts. They were warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, and went back to their country by a different route.
When Herod realized what the Magi had done, he ordered all the boys under 2 years old near Bethlehem to be killed.
Pretty extreme, huh? Mary and Joseph had to escape to Egypt to keep flee this order, and stayed there until Herod had died.
Scripture doesn’t much more about this, except that what was said through the prophet Jeremiah came to pass.
“A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” Matthew 2: 18 NIV
Can you imagine? You probably don’t even need to really imagine… because you can consider your own suffering, and the suffering that goes on around you.
Maybe the people were asking themselves the same question that many of us ask ourselves every day. What kind of world do we live in?
As a parent, this is the question that goes through my mind the most: What kind of world are we raising our kids in? Because sometimes the innocent suffer. And it’s not something new. As we have seen, this has been happening since the days the people in the Bible walked the earth.
And as I was driving the other day and reflecting on these questions, God whispered a truth that many of us know, but this time it hit me differently.
“You live in the kind of world where I (God) am with you.”
This is our God.
Yes. This is our God, the One who is with us. I know this. We celebrate this, this time of year too. Emmanuel, God with us. No longer do we live in a world separated from Him. But the kind of world, where He is with us.
I can’t imagine a world without God. Without the Light of the world. The Old Testament gives a good picture of what it was like before Jesus came, and a lot of the times it seems like the world was without hope.
But now, we live in a world where we can have hope, and this hope that we have in Jesus is an anchor for our souls.
We live in the kind of world where His promises are true, and His word is fixed in heaven.
This is the stuff that we can’t usually see, but we can deeply know in the depths of our hearts. Truths that we can stand firm on, when everything can seem like sifting sand.
Lastly, the kind of world we live in is the kind of world that God sent His son, Jesus, into. His birth wasn’t glamorous. Not at all. Neither was His life. He didn’t have a birth fit for a king. And His purpose wasn’t to assume the worldly position of a king. He lived a life no one would have wanted or chosen. Yet, He left the brilliance of heaven to grow up in Nazareth (and can any good come from Nazareth? John 1:46), to be united with His bride. The church.
What kind of king comes and lives among His people?
He came to dwell among His people.
But what kind of king comes and lives among His people? The kind of king that desires for His people to dwell with Him. He didn’t give orders from afar; He came near, and shared with God’s people about the kingdom of heaven. And He came to save His people from their sin, and set the captives free. He did what we never could, because of His great love for us.
So when you are asking yourself what kind of world we live in… remember that we live in the kind of world that with us, is God.