One thing that’s been crushing me lately is the reality of humanity’s brokenness around me. By brokenness I’m referring to despair and depression. Sadness and strife. Helplessness and hopelessness.
Everyone is miserable. Everyone harbors inner grief and turmoil. The most polished and perfected of us. The most successful. The most content, the happiest, the funniest, the kindest hearted. But we don’t always see others’ battles behind closed doors, the bottles lying on their bedroom floors, the weeping and sobbing that shake them to their core.
It’s as if the public sphere of our lives is one massive masquerade and we’re all dancing it well. We’re all hiding under a pretty pretense and waltzing alongside the guileful guise of our neighbors. But beneath the masks there is hurt, misery, pain, desperation, and darkness.
There are times when I am overwhelmed with love and thankfulness for my family, but then there are times when even my tears cannot relieve me of the burden I feel for our brokenness. There are times when I am filled with faithful optimism, but then there are times when I am shattered by the shards of life’s seeming hopelessness.
We all experience this weight. There is a heavy oppressive force that seeks to drag us down. For some it is a constant companion. For others it is not always present, but when it appears it looms tall and high, and surges as it breaks down upon us, weakening our knees and faltering our feet. We are left strewn across the floor in misery, crippled beneath the weight of its force. We are left wondering if this was how life was supposed to be; if things could ever change; why life had to be so hard; why we had to be so weak and powerless; if there was one who could help us, to make life better.
The cheap answer is this: Life sucks. But what can we do about it? That’s life.
The real answer is this: That’s not life. Life is found in Jesus Christ. Anything outside of Jesus is death.
Please hear me out! This is not some religious antic meant to lure you into a belief system. This is Truth and you are subjected to its power, whether you believe in it or not.
Life outside of Jesus is death because Satan is the prince of this world and his poison of choice is sin. Evil runs rampant at the command of its creator. It has no leash; it is so ravenous, wildly ferocious, cruel and merciless, dangerously murderous, and fierce in its aggressiveness.
Sin crouches at the door, and its desire is to have us. From our mother’s womb it pounces upon us, and from our very first gasp of breath, breathed in oblivion, we are attacked by its venom. And so we are left with our faces in the mud, crawling, powerless, like vulnerable prey.
This is why we get depressed and miserable. This is why life sucks. This is why people all around us are suffering. Because sin governs us. Because sin sucks. Because Satan, the ruler of this world, labors only to steal and kill and destroy.
BUT – there must be good news. And there is. There is really, really, really, really, Really. Good. News.
- The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8 (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
- …that through [his] death [Christ] might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. Hebrews 2:14
- “I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.” John 12:46
- He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Col. 1:12-13
You see, without Christ, we are held captive by our sin. Sin is the jailer and we are its prisoners. You ever have those moments where you feel so miserably powerless in your inability to be better? to do better? It’s because you’re in chains. We’re all born in chains. Only through Jesus can they be removed. On the cross, He paid for our sins, and through His resurrection, He won the power over the key to our imprisonment. He and He alone unlocks the iron doors of our cells and frees us from our torturous sentence.
On the cross, all the evils of this world were lashed out and pulverized upon the body of Christ. Along with his body, they died. And when he rose, in fullness of flesh, thus arose the fulfillment of the hope of true life.
True life! It is not trouble-free, sadness-free, pain-free, or suffering-free. But it is purely and genuinely joyful, fulfilling, and secure. In the midst of the world’s hopelessness, there is the assurance of victory and the guarantee of salvation. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; [Jesus] has overcome the world. John 16:33