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“Earth in the Bargain!” Revelations 22: 20-21 Key verse(s): 21:“The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.”


The surest way to become hopeless is to simply open your eyes in the morning and look around you. Everything seems to be falling apart. Huge deficits, world terrorism, train, car and airplane accidents, natural disasters and on and on. With so much going wrong there is little room to see what is going right. We shake our heads and wonder, “When will this all change? Can we continue to live in a world that is so corrupt, so full of failure and disaster?” Even a Christian heart needs strengthening in a time like this.


Nevertheless, things have been worse. There was a time many centuries ago when plagues struck Europe and nearly a third of the population was decimated. There have been times when wars were more frequent and more bloody. There have been times when terror stalked this planet in the form of Attila, Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, Hitler and a long list of others. So, are we to take comfort from the fact that it could be worse? Not really. There is little comfort in misery, pain and suffering despite the fact that we now have modern medicine. There is certainly no comfort in war and bloodshed no matter how distant it may be from our shores. Bad is bad, evil is evil regardless of the time in history.


I was always struck, however, by the fact that, despite evil and suffering in this world, there have always been a handful of individuals who excel in goodness, wisdom and mercy despite their surroundings. How did Mother Teresa, confronted with overwhelming suffering and violence, excel in a culture that was totally foreign to the message of sin and grace, the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ? Or, for that matter, go back in history. What gave John Wycliffe the ability and the zeal to pursue the translation of the Bible in an English culture so dominated by graft, cunning, and despotic power? Go through history and you will see examples of men and women who have overcome the obstacles of evil and even prospered in the midst of decadence, evil and sorrow. The Apostles who faced off with the mightiest empire this world has ever known, were able to plant the seeds of grace and mercy amidst an empire that hated everything that had to do with this “Christ!” The list goes on and on. Even down to this day, the world is mystified that there are those who are willing to face off with evil even when their own lives are at stake.


There is a common denominator amongst all these men and women. That denominator is Christ. It is the Christian who has consistently shown forth when all others have faded into the blackness of evil. It is the man or woman convinced of the hope of Christ, that has taken the risk, assumed the extra hardship, even sacrificed a life so that amidst all the suffering and evil, there would always be a light piercing the darkness. What gives some Christians this unique ability? Perhaps they have something going for them that no one else has? C.S. Lewis writes, “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next . . . all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’; aim at earth and you will get neither.” (C.S.Lewis, Mere Christianity, Christian Behavior)

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