Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
I would say that that the topic most often talked about in conversation is what’s wrong with our world. We talk about:
• the death of someone we know
• violence somewhere around the world
• a volcano or earthquake that has left many people homeless
• a sudden death through accident or disease
• sickness and disability
• violence and war
• robberies, sex crimes, and child abuse
• a broken marriage
• even the weather that seems all messed up.
There are plenty of storms in our world and few of them seem very small. There are storms of:
• financial uncertainty, unemployment and recession
• violence, terrorism and global annihilation
• cancer and birth defects, suicide and school shootings
• moral collapse, family fragmentation and child abuse.
The Times of London asked, about a century ago, a number of authors to write on the question, What’s wrong with the world? It’s a fascinating question.
A bunch of famous authors wrote about it. A wonderful Christian writer named G.K. Chesterton actually wrote the shortest article. This is what he wrote:
What’s wrong with the world?
G. K. Chesterton.
It was an intriguing answer—because in a sense we contribute to the way our world is. Maybe we’re part of the problem.
Is the world beyond fixing?
Many feel we are in deep trouble, and there’s no way of fixing the world. A clear picture of getting in over our heads comes from Dr. Seuss. In his story The Cat in the Hat two children are left at home alone on a rainy afternoon. They are moping around, bored to pieces, when suddenly a mysterious visitor arrives: a cat wearing a candy-striped top hat. The cat entertains the children by breaking every conceivable parental rule of indoor behaviour.
Of course, the children have a wonderful time doing forbidden things, while the house becomes a complete shambles. Then, inevitably, mother returns. Suddenly the children notice the mess they have created, and they panic. They moan, “This mess is so big and so deep and so tall, we cannot pick it up. There is no way at all!”
That’s how many of us feel in looking at our world—it’s too much of a mess, and we don’t know what to do about it. But I want to say we can do something, because we are made in the image of God.
A paradise lost
Genesis 1:27 teaches that humanity was created “in the image and likeness of God”. This means that we were created with the ability to reflect and relate to God. We can love, reason, create, manipulate our environment, think, and have a sense of morality.
We were created for a purpose: to reflect God’s nature and do his work in this world. We were created to be in community. We were made for God’s pleasure and to derive pleasure from our relationship with him.
The Bible tells me that God, in surveying everything he had made, looked over all creation and declared it to be very good. You see, when we look at our world today and wonder what is wrong, it is a sign to us that we are longing for something better. The reason we long for something better is that we were created for something better. We are still made in the image of God but many years ago Adam and Eve spoiled everything. They sinned when tempted by Satan. Genesis chapter 3 tells the story of man’s fall.
“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” – Romans 3:23 (NLT)
In turning against the word of their Creator, Adam and Eve rebelled against him. The effects of their sin were immediate: they hid from God and turned against one another. This is the story of paradise lost. Before sending them out of the garden, God warned them that they would not be able to find their significance in their work, for creation would turn against them and that they would not find security in their relationships because sin would turn them against one another.
This is the state in which we find ourselves. We live in a good world gone bad—people made in the image of God, but marred in the nature of Adam. As a result Paul said in Romans 3:23, “We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory”.
Psychologists say too many of us have low self-esteem that represses our true feelings, and that therapy can fix everything if we accept ourselves as we are. But deep down we are looking for significance, acceptance by others, pleasure. We just want to be happy in our world—but it doesn’t work out like that.
God is our only hope in Jesus Christ: “I am the Alpha and the Omega says the Lord God who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8).
Many things fall apart in our world, relationships fail and many people are in deep despair. But with faith in Jesus, we and our world has hope.