Not half! Thousands of refugees trapped ‘at the end of the road’, backs to the border wall. No one wants them. The news reporter describes their plight as ‘hopeless’.
People point to such things and sneer, ‘Where is your God of love?’ and, truth be told, believers at times cry out to our Father in heaven in perplexity.
‘Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?... Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless.’ (Psalm 10 v 1 and 12)
When I first felt a call into Christian ministry I was wrestling with some big questions like these. I finally found the reassurance I needed in the shortest verse of the Bible, ‘Jesus wept.’ (John 11 v 35) It may not be the answer some people want but it settled me back then. We have to let God be ruler and judge of his creation. If we don’t like some of what He does or allows, we are comforted that our Master shares our grief and frustration.
My reading this morning was Luke 19 and there it was again.
Verses which I must have read a thousand times spoke fresh truth.
Jesus knew Jerusalem would largely reject Him and within a generation be destroyed, its inhabitants massacred or scattered. Envisaging their suffering, the Lord wept in sorrow over the city.
It didn’t stop Him from addressing the corruption that was there in the Temple, from welcoming the penitent and healing those in pain. Earlier in the chapter He showed remarkable concern for the crooked tax-collector Zacchaeus who promptly reformed his ways.
‘The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.’ Jesus says, and tells the parable about a returning king who has entrusted his servants with his business. We are to do as He would be doing until he gets here.
So we could spend today complaining and making the state of the world an excuse for complacency or indulgence, or we could do as the Lord has demonstrated for us. Caring deeply, we are to invest the resources He gives through His Spirit, challenging corruption, helping the poor, praying for grace and mercy and seeking to restore the broken and the lost.
He has set the example. And scripture gives this promise:
‘Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.’ (Psalm 126 v 5-6)