Maybe wonder is something like blowing a soap bubble. You need to do it slow. Gentle. Keep the pressure steady, watching ephemeral walls swell into shape, close into roundness, float away.
It is now the Holy Week, the end of Lent. It is the capstone to a season of wonder.
A life without wonder is a sick one, but wonder takes time. In much of Western Christianity there is an itchy need to give the answer before anyone asks the question.
Yet Christians can claim only a living hope, never assuming to know all the answers.
We are still living in this world, after all. I have prayed for the Democratic Republic of Congo during this Lent. Tell me, if you have the answers, tell me why millions of Congolese have died in greed-based violence? Tell me how that country can be “the world’s rape capital” when there is a good God who is sovereign and loving? Tell me why children die of awful diseases? Tell me why girls are abused, why families are broken? Tell me how these last weeks alone are ever tallying higher the number of mass graves in the Kasai-Central province?
Lent is for taking seriously this world we inhabit, this body I inhabit, the sins and evil within and without. It is a time for mourning; because the evil in this world is terrible. We were not created for this, yet it is real. People are dying.
I tested out of college-level Biology recently, a high percentage of which is the study of Evolution. Thinking through the implications of that ideology shocked me. They are cruel. It is a cold religion. There is no place for an idea of “evil” in Evolution. Morality could be nothing more than chemicals in your brain or social conditioning. Death is good for weeding out a population, and rape could be seen as survival of the fittest. There is no explanation for “altruism” (living for someone else), my textbook states repeatedly. What type of world would that be? The thought terrifies me.
I believe God created this world, and I believe the evil in it is profoundly wrong and contrary to His nature. And yes, that beggars a million or more questions that I cannot answer.
But I have a living hope. Not that I’ll get all the facts someday, but that at the end of everything, God will restore shalom – nothing missing, nothing broken. We’ll see the face of God.
I cannot ignore the evil. But neither can I dismiss the goodness of God.
Lent is for a slow wonder. It’s the season that we remember; God will die. God will die the most awful death for the sins of mankind.
How could that even be?
How could he love – you? Do you ever sit in that tension? You, with the small soul and the selfish demands, the self-absorbed life all about “me, me, me”. You are the hateful, jealous friend. The spiteful, angry coworker. The inadequate spouse, the judgmental driver, the failing student. You with your tiny life that you blow up to such importance it blocks your view of the universe –
how could he love you? Not tolerate you, not pity you, but passionately and persistently love you?
Lent, the tension of wonder. (The bubble widening, breath trapped in rainbow globes.)
Because He does love you. Because He has promised the shalom wholeness we long for in this cracked world. The evil that grips Congo is not forever. A power beyond what we could ever imagine will wreck it completely one day. He has already won the victory over Satan. One day all time will come to ripeness, and we will see the face of God. Someday all that has been bent crooked will be straightened again.
I do not have the answers for the evil in this world, the evil in Congo, the evil in my heart. But I have a living hope.
Christ, the King, is coming.
Maranatha, come quickly, Lord Jesus.