Sometimes A lot of times things fall apart. Forever becomes yesterday and rocks crumble into sand. When that happens we feel it. I think we all feel it all. I think the grass and the dirt and the birds and the ants feel it. We feel the broken – the hearts, the promises, the bodies.
And as Christians we are taught to believe we can hope for Heaven where everything will be okay. But what if the scandal of the Gospel is that it can all be okay here and now?
What if the Kingdom that Jesus talked about (Desmond Tutu calls it “God’s Dream” in his Children’s Bible and I loveitsomuch) – the one where the first are last and the last are first, where there is righteousness, joy, peace and life is here? What if it’s happening now? What if it’s “at hand” like Jesus said?
If it is… We can dare to hope for more than an escape. We can dare to dream – maybe dream along with God? – that things will be okay in the wreckage. Like really okay. Like redeemed, restored, fixed and proper.
That can be a very hard thing to look for. Because this is not the original design and we are constantly reminded how far it falls short.
Fathers were never supposed to leave. Women were never supposed to be treated with contempt. Children were never supposed to starve. Nobody was ever supposed to be raped or murdered or beaten or abandoned. And nobody was supposed to carry out those crimes. Nobody. God did not design us to hurt each other. It was never supposed to be like this. It doesn’t bring him glory for us to live this way.
The glory comes in making it right.
When families overcome betrayal. When sons and daughters left to die in orphanages are engulfed in loving arms. When the truth comes out decades later and provides closure. When victims become advocates. Love wins. We can read that: God wins.
But still, for all the redemption, all the new-making, all the healing we know in our bones, in our spirits, in the parts of us that share whatever part God bestowed with “image,” that this is Plan B. This is the back up.
So it will hurt. And we will have to walk this path of healing while feeling so broken still. We will be asked to drop burdens that help us cope with the damage and then we will feel free only as long as it takes to bend down and pick them back up. We will have to live in a world where terrible things happen to the best people, and for all our theology we will have nothing to tell them when they ask us why. We will see horrors with our new eyes; sometimes that will mean being able to find the good and sometimes it will mean seeing how deep the bad really is. Somehow even with new peace, it will hurt more than it ever did before.
So we hope like crazy people that all the worst of this world will be restored or destroyed; that we have someone actively working on our behalf to figure out what stays and what goes. That we get to be a part of the process of believing the best for everybody and dismantling the terrors that chase them.
And when we are honest, we mourn what we are losing – because we are losing something and we can’t help but miss it – but we don’t have to grieve forever. We have a Comforter which lifts our chins, dries our tears and reminds us of Plan B. The Scandal. The Audacity of Love to make right out of so wrong. And it may not be the ideal, but it’s still more. It is still unbelievable, still outlandish, still bursting our expectations. And that’s hope, folks.