Tag Archives: trouble

This Ain’t Paradise

2005 Sequoia Park Camping 035

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately: how we humans continually try to make our lives…

as peaceful,

as clutterless and simplified,

as pain-free and healthy,

as secure and free of perplexing and unanswerable questions as possible.

We seek perfect relationships,

perfect jobs,

perfect houses and schools,

perfect churches,

perfect communities.

I have to remind myself in my own Don Quixote quest: It ain’t gonna happen.

Because this world ain’t paradise.

Remember, long ago we were expelled from paradise? Cherubim with flaming swords guarded the entrance so that no one could come in.

And ever since that awful day, we all have sought to re-enter paradise. Whether we’re aware of it or not, our quest for paradise is demonstrated by seeking happiness and pain-free relationships, through religions, philosophies, the quest for wealth or celebrity. This is our attempt to return to the days before our intimate fellowship with God was broken.

Every time I hear someone ask the question, “How could a loving God permit such suffering in the world?” I imagine I hear the echo of Adam and Eve’s anguished cries outside the portal to Paradise.

I think we have, in our very DNA, the memory of how life could have, should have been. And we yearn for that unreachable, historic reality.

Jesus Himself entered this fallen world as a baby and experienced what we experience. Jesus did not try to make this present world paradise for His disciples. (It certainly wasn’t paradise for Him!) He said, “In this world you will have trouble…”(John 16:33)

I remind myself: Dena, don’t expect this present world to be pain-free and untroubled. No matter how mature and kind you become, no matter how much you learn of God and submit to Him, no matter how much you give to others in life-giving words and good actions, you cannot transfer Eden’s perfection, characterized by sinless, unfettered, intimate fellowship with God to your current circumstances.

I tell myself: Dena, expect things to go wrong each day. Trust God. Walk by faith in God’s promise of unfailing love and presence. Be encouraged by these words:

“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they might have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.” (Rev. 22:14 NIV Bible)

That will be Paradise.

Only Prayer

As I watch the news lately, I can hardly believe all the horrible things that are happening throughout the world. Innocent children used as pawns at the border crossing. Children and other civilians used as human shields in Gaza. The horror of war. The desperation of Israel, just trying to exist while surrounded by people who hate them so much that they want every Jewish person annihilated. And then there’s the religious persecution of Christians.

What can we do? The needs are endless. My resources are few.

I can send money. But then, what?

I can make these needs known in my small corner of the world.

I can blog about it. Perhaps my words will move someone else to do what they can to bring attention and aid to these poor suffering people.

Sometimes I forget my most powerful weapon: PRAYER.

Jesus left us the perfect example of the man or woman who walks closely with God. He went off to a quiet place each day to talk to His God. I hope we also do that daily, not only for our own spiritual sustenance, but to entreat Him for mercy and provision for the victims of evil.

Yesterday I was reading in the book of Revelation. In Revelation chapter five, the Lamb: Jesus Christ, is worthy to take the scroll from God. As He does so, twenty-four elders fall down before Him. They are holding harps (for musical worship) and vials filled with incense (containing the prayers of the saints.)

The prayers of the saints.

Never think that our worship and our intercession for others is insignificant to God. If they are mentioned in heaven, then they have indeed reached Jesus, who intercedes for His saints.

I was struck by this mention of our prayers. They are precious to our Lord.

The Lord listens to the prayers of His saints. The Word of God promises it.

Lets pray and pray and pray for the world, for those who are victims of horrible, hateful religious fanatics, and for those who hate God and want to throw off His yoke—however righteous and gracious it is— forever.

Pray for Israel.

But also pray for those who hate Israel.

Pray for the persecuted and those who are being used.

But also pray for the haters and those who only value their own profit and power even at the cost of many innocent lives.

Lets fall on our faces before our precious Savior and intercede for the whole world. Lets pray every day and as often as we hear of more trouble.

“Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open.”( Ephesians 6: 23 The Message)