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We Live In A World Gone Mad!

I read recently from an unknown source, “It’s better to keep peace than to have to make peace.” How true it is. And how very . . . unrealistic.

I’d love to live in a world of peace, but peace has boarded a train and left the station. One day we will live in perfect peace, but that day is not now. The angelic announcement proclaiming “Peace on earth, good will toward men” was the inaugural address for the Prince of Peace, but His Kingdom of Peace invades the Kingdom of Violence . . . slowly.

And we know that all too well.

August 17, 2017—A terrorist plowed a van into crowds, killing 13 people and injuring more than a hundred, in Barcelona's Las Ramblas.
August 12, 2017—Riots broke out at a white nationalists rally in Charlottesville, VA leaving one woman dead and many more injured.
June 19, 2017—A van driver mowed down Muslim worshippers on Seven Sisters Road near Finsbury Park mosque leaving one man dead and eight others injured.
June 3, 2017— The London terror attack killed eight people and injured many others on London Bridge and in nearby Borough Market.
May 22, 2017
—The Manchester terror attack killed at least 22 people and injured 59 others at an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena.

We live in a world gone mad! War begets war. Violence begets violence. History repeats itself. Greek wars. Persian wars. Syrian wars. Roman wars. Saxon wars. The Crusades. The Hundred Years’ War. The French Revolution. The Napoleonic Wars. The Civil War. World Wars I/II. Korea. Vietnam. Falklands. Gulf War. Bosnia. Kosovo. Afghanistan. Iraq. Somalia.

Global conflict. Local hate. If Jesus offers peace, why does the world choose war instead? Perhaps because the world sees Jesus as a religious figure, and religion doesn’t have a reputable track record in restoring peace. If God is omnipotent, why doesn’t He force His peace into our broken world? One day He will. But in our human struggle, forced peace is not genuine peace. Coercion is not a good tactic to bring about changed hearts.

Yes, heaven will come, but earth—with all its foibles and imperfections—is our current residence. What shall we do? Hold on. Bring peace through Jesus at the smallest level to make the biggest impact. Begin at home. “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18). And know this, Satan may win some battles, but he has already lost the war.

God’s kingdom has come in Jesus the king,
He died and He rose, redemption to bring;

Yet still we await the glorious day
When Satan and sin no longer hold sway. —D. De Haan

The Pinnacle Reunion

“Every parting gives a foretaste of death, every reunion a hint of the resurrection” (Arthur Schopenhauer).

This morning Laura and I drove to the airport to pick up our son who flew home from a three-month trip to Cambodia. And it felt like a divine reunion. Laura and I know this is a foreshadowing of what is to come, as our son most likely will be serving overseas somewhere within the next couple of years—and then a three-month trip will turn into a two-three year parting.

Partings are painful but reunions are grand.

In Christ all separations are temporal, even the separation of death. One day death will be no more, darkness will be vanquished, and “there will be one huge family reunion with the Master” (1 Thessalonians 4:16, MSG). Our reunion from our son’s Cambodian adventure is remarkable enough; I can’t imagine what the pinnacle reunion in heaven will be like.

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4, ESV).

Some of you have recently said goodbye to children whom you dropped off at the college dorm. I remember. Some of you have walked away from the graveside of a loved one. I remember. Some of you have shed tears as you moved away to a new location. I remember. Some of you have grieved the parting with friends who are no longer friends. I remember.

Of all our painful memories, Jesus knows. Surely He grieved when He told His disciples, “A little while, and you will see me no longer” (John 16:16a). He told them they would weep and lament over their parting (John 16:20a). But He had to go away in order to return. His parting was temporary; His reunion is eternal. “Your sorrow will turn into joy,” Jesus said (John 16:20b).

In the Old Testament, God spoke through Zephaniah to bring words of judgment to the nation of Judah. They would be conquered and dispersed, but not forever. Ultimately God would bring restoration, which Zephaniah pronounced: “`You’ll see it with your own eyes—all those painful partings turned into reunions!’ God’s Promise” (Zephaniah 3:20, MSG).

The next time you say “Good-bye” to your son or daughter going off to college, or to that loved one who has passed into eternity, or to that friend you leave behind when you move to that new city, may you long even more for the ultimate reunion that one day will appear on the heavenly horizon.

To my son, I write, “Every time I say your name in prayer—which is practically all the time—I thank God for you, the God I worship with my whole life in the tradition of my ancestors. I miss you a lot, especially when I remember that last tearful good-bye, and I look forward to a joy-packed reunion” (2 Timothy 1:3-4, MSG).

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