We live in a world dominated by fear. We make most of our decisions based off of fear. We vote for people based off of fear. We let fear guide us, choke us, suffocate us. We let fear have control. For some reason, we think that choosing based off of fear gives us some kind of control. Really, we don’t have any control.
Here is the things, fellow Christ-followers, we don’t have to live in fear. I know, we say that all the time. But seriously, can you think about it? Can you let it sink in deep down in your bones? Fear has no say. Fear is not your boss.
Our world right now – yeah, so much of it is a disaster. There have been tiny cracks in it all along, and it feels like we are actually falling apart at the seams now. We see horrible brokenness all around us. We are regressing in a lot of the areas where it felt like we made significant progress. The world we have built for ourselves is starting to crumble.
My first thought, is that maybe that is because we built it ourselves. Anything built by human hands alone won’t last. Sometimes God breaks things down so that He can rebuild the right way.
Second, can we shift our focus? Yes, there is brokenness. Yes, things seem to be falling apart. But let’s look at the other side of it. There is so much redemption. There are so many good people doing good things. I am sure right now that you could think of at least one person doing a good thing in this world. (If you can’t, look here, for starters.) We are curing diseases, creating helpful technologies, advancing systems. We are advocating for the oppressed. We are fighting for peace. There will always be an enemy. There will always be opposition – that is the reality of this world. So we shouldn’t be surprised about it, instead we should focus on all the good. Let’s do our part in repairing the ship we are sailing on instead of trying to throw overboard all the people we don’t like.
This song right here, this is what I am loving right now. I have it on repeat. I am convinced it is the anthem of Heaven. It is the prayer of my heart right now, that we would understand that we are free and will be free. The chorus tells us: “Let the light in, keep it shining. Let it break into the darkness. All the love dares us to see, we’ll all be free. We lay our hate down, to wash their feet. When we see our brother, we’ll all be free.”
I want to live a life centered around this kind of freedom, and the word that always comes to mind is redemption. I want a redemptive trajectory to be my worldview. It is hard some days, especially when the person who might lead our country says things that degrade and devalue a whole lot of people who possess the Image of God. (Just one example of brokenness.) However, I want to be a person that is constantly looking for Heaven here on this earth, believing that it just might be here. That was Jesus’ prayer – that God’s Kingdom would come here. That is mine as well. That I would play a part in bringing His Kingdom here. My part? Is to see if I can bring a little piece of Heaven to Lakewood, Colorado. To my classroom. To my office. To my small group. To my friends. To my home. To my family. My role is to see how I can bring freedom and light to the spaces that God has placed me in.
Where has God given you opportunity? Where can you bring redemption? What would it look like to bring light into the darkness in your world?
Let the light in! Keep it shining! Let it break into the darkness! All the love dares us to see: We’ll all be free!
Here’s the thing. I wrote this post earlier in the week, and it really ties up in a nice bow there, doesn’t it! But then God did what God does, and answered my prayer. He walked me through an incredibly challenging situation where I actually got to practice bringing redemption and light into an ugly, dark place. One of my close friends was badly burned by our church, and I could have punched someone in the face I was so angry. But my soul clung to these words: Let the light in. Keep it shining. Let it break into the darkness. All the love dares us to see: we’ll all be free. I felt a renewed sense of justice in my life, and a deepening foundation of love and respect for Jesus. He told me to read my own words and so I read the first part of this post to myself, as I mourned the pain of my friend and the hypocrisy of the Church.
I sat with my friend and we spoke the truth; we brought darkness into the light and watched redemption do its work. I realized that it feels happy and cute to talk about redemption. It is an encouraging and uplifting word. But the real redemption work is hard and messy and beautiful in a deep and scary way. Ultimate redemption looked like death on a cross, so I shouldn’t expect it to be easy in my own life. But what this week taught me is that it is real, and it is the way of Jesus. Anything other than redemption is not our call. It is what Jesus came for, and so it is what we are here for. It is the hard work, but it is the holy work. The beautiful, holy work.
May we be carriers of light in a dark world, agents of redemption in our broken humanity. May we follow no one other than Jesus, the Light of the world and our Redeemer.