Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Beauty in the City

I believe that God loves the city.

That’s not to say God doesn’t love suburban and rural areas. He certainly does. But I think sometimes we lose sight of God’s heart for the city. There’s no fresh air, it’s noisy, the traffic is insane, parts of it aren’t very safe, it’s hot in the summer and nasty slop is everywhere in the winter, and there’s no nature. When we think about all of these things, we often forget the beauty of the city. But the city is beautiful for several reasons.

First of all, there are no bugs. Sure you may get roaches if you’re apartment is a pit, but if you go for a walk outside, you will see absolutely no mosquitoes, you will not get any cobwebs in your face, and you won’t get a single tick. That is beautiful.

Second, there are sidewalks. You can walk anywhere that you need to go. You don’t have to worry about freeways, putting gas in your car, or those weird twisty neighborhoods where all the houses are the same. Fantastic.

And one specific to Chicago, we have one of the Great Lakes. Seriously, could it be more awesome than that?

Now, wonderful as these things are, I don’t think that’s why God loves the city. I believe that God loves people, and the city is full of them! It’s where things happen, where culture is changed and defined, where ideas and dreams become realities, and where beliefs are shared. The city is where you learn and understand what different people are really thinking and believing, how the culture is changing, what people are dreaming about, and how you can really be an effective witness and impact the world for Christ. I believe that God wants to reach the city and transform the people here. God’s heart is to care for the poor, to love the lost, and to heal the broken. The city is full of people who are poor, broken and lost, and his heart is to reach those people!

What an amazing opportunity it is to be living in the heart of downtown Chicago! As I sit in my windowsill, drinking Korean tea, watching the traffic below, enjoying the view of the beautiful architecture, and listening to all the sounds of the city, I can’t help but be excited. God has a heart for the city and I can’t wait to discover more of what that is and how I fit into his plan for this city.

Soli deo gloria.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Moose Hunting and Chocolate Milk

    After weighing the pros and cons of becoming a nun, I long ago decided that it was not the path for me. This summer I decided that an excellent alternative would be to become a gypsy with some nun-like qualities. However, after some deeper contemplation I have decided to move to Alaska and live with the Seven Dwarves. Although the Seven Dwarves are axe murderers (this is what actually happened to Snow White), they will immediately recognize my superb moose-hunting abilities and decide to keep me around to help them hunt moose. There I will spend the rest of my days, exploring the beautiful Alaskan wilderness, knitting mittens, and hunting moose. And of course drinking chocolate milk, because we all know that the Alaska pipeline is actually filled with chocolate milk, rather than oil.

Bring it.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Redeemer

    Lately more and more days go by that I am simply saddened by the world around me. As I watch people live lifestyles that can only lead to hopelessness and self-destruction, hear horrifying news stories of senseless violence, see the sick and helpless get abandoned and forgotten, and learn of deep personal tragedies in the lives of loved ones, my heart aches and longs for an answer. I want to know why there is poverty in our world, why the helpless get oppressed, why people die of starvation, why the elderly get forgotten or taken advantage of, why people self-destruct, why innocent people are killed for no reason, why families get destroyed, why people are hurting, lonely, and lost,

why all the injustice

and how long will it go on?

    Some days the world around me looks so desperate and hopeless that all I want to do is sit down and sob for every broken heart, every torn relationship, every lost, hungry, and oppressed soul. And I want answers. I want to know why God allowed this, that, or the other, where God was when so-and-so prayed for this, and what is being accomplished through all of this?

    I don’t have an answer. I could eloquently state some good theological concepts about suffering or talk about how we live in a fallen world and therefore injustice exists or say something about how it’s all for a reason. But at the end of the day, even though these things are true, that’s not what anyone wants to hear. The bottom line is that I don’t know why injustice and suffering happen and I don’t know how long it will continue.

    But I know my Redeemer.

    I know that the God I serve has promised that one day he will undo all of the wrongs, all of the suffering, and all of the injustice. I know that my Savior chose the path of suffering for himself, and if he was willing to enter into our world and experience pain and suffering then he must have a good reason for allowing it to exist. And I know that my God is able to do all that he has promised.

    I have hope, comfort, peace, and joy, even in the midst of a badly broken world. I don’t need to have all the answers and I don’t need to explain it all away. I know that my God is able and will redeem this world and that here and now he walks with us in our pain and our suffering. He chose to suffer himself and he chooses to come alongside us in every hardship, every trial, every tragedy. While it would be nice to have neat, tidy answers to all of these difficult questions, I have the only answer I need in the hope that God is working redemption in this world. I have his promises of present comfort and grace to walk with him through any circumstance and future redemption of all pain, suffering, and injustice. And I have the hope that in the light of the future glory that awaits us, even the most horrible pain and suffering imaginable will seem small. Take heart. We serve a great Redeemer.

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
– 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

[soli deo gloria]