I like to fix things.
For a number of years, it seemed as though every girl I fell for was in need of fixing: some guy had been careless with her heart, or she was dealing with issues from her childhood, or she’d never been in a relationship that was healthy. And then I realized that I was equally broken, jaded, reluctant to trust and to love, unwilling to hope too much for good things, since they came too rarely, if at all.
And then in general, I have a proclivity for fixing things: objects, situations, conflicts, systems. I wanted (still do, actually …) to make the world better—how grand, some might say! How foolish, others might retort! But I’ve come to see this as the situation that faces us in life. What we see before us is the world as it is: oftentimes wonderful, beautiful and delightfully engaging, but also tragically and undeniably broken and imperfect.
As Christians, we understand these cracks to be the cause of sin, of selfishness, and of not choosing God or his ways and values. We see the brokenness in ourselves; we recognize what lies inside each one of us is somewhat and somehow less than we would like it to be.
But as Christians, we also understand that the world as it is, is not the world as it once was.
Nor is it the world as it should be.
And it is certainly not the world as it will be.
This isn’t to say that everything that we have and see today is ruined. There are a great many things that are broken and spoiled and corrupted. There are things everyday that we see and read and experience that break our hearts.
But, despite all of this, I hope. As one of my favorite writers and presidents (guess who …) says,
Hope is not blind optimism. It’s not ignoring the enormity of the tasks ahead or the road blocks that stand in our path. It’s not sitting on the sidelines or shirking from a fight.
Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, and to work for it, and to fight for it.
He may have couched his words in less explicitly spiritual terms, but as a Christian, I know he hopes in the same things that I do.
We can take hope because God is good, and because Jesus Christ came, died, and rose again, redeeming humanity and creation from sin and death, and restoring us into the possibility of right relationship with God. We can take hope because Jesus says, “The kingdom is near.” God is working out his purposes on earth—through us, his people. He will fix the brokenness. And because of that, we can look at life through his eyes and with his perspective.
In all the ugliness, we can see the potential for restoration and beauty. In all the despair, we can see the still-gleaming hope that never fades. Because we hope in something concrete, something that will be, and will come to pass.
Thanks be to God.