On the map, a glossy photograph displays a sparkling mountain-top lake, but after hours of hiking we find only a tiny stagnant pool with burnt pine trees crumpled around. Sometimes, I feel like life is this way too—everything besmirched. If you know me, you know I try to live life with a half-full cup, enjoying dreams of hope, sunrises to awe, mountains to conquer… But then, suddenly the glass is removed, and all I see, feel, and hear is the agony of a sin-sick world—when sources of joy become deep sighing and tears; when dreams turn to dread; when warmest friendship turns to coldest rejection; when what was to be treasured is abused; when vibrant life becomes death; when occasions to love end in deepest pain…and my heart floodgates break open to the deluge of human pain and misery.
But then I recall that this was never God’s intention. I know my God in Whom I believe, and this mess we call earth was never His plan. My God’s work is good, perfect, and beautiful—not this!
When my uncle died in September, just eleven days after arriving in Khon Kaen, a clearer contrast between Christ and Satan formed in my mind.
- 1) A being with one of the most intelligent minds in the universe that stood by God’s throne shielding His glory. But instead of using all this incredible power to develop a beautiful world, he uses it to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10a) you, your family, your friends, and humanity. He lives his entire existence purposing to deceive as many people as possible, and then once they are trapped by his deceptions, to kill them so that they are eternally lost. How horrible! How despicable! How repulsive!
- ## 2) A Being with the most intelligent mind and greatest power in the universe. But instead of using that power to force everyone to conform to a “perfect society,” He gave up all that to let us kill Him ignominiously on a cross, revealing infinite love for you, your family, your friends, and humanity. In this way, we could see the difference between the characters and life-results of these two beings and have the opportunity to choose which to follow.
This ghastly planet I see is the work of Satan’s hands, and how I hate him for it! How a being could have such a contemptible purpose is unfathomable to me! Thank God for the victory in Christ Jesus, for without that I would be hopeless, but with that I am expectant of a new heavens and a new earth in which there is no crying, or suffering, or death (Rev. 21:4)! “Even so come Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20)
But God asks us all a question: “Just like you loved your uncle, so I love everyone in this world except infinitely more! Just like you are so pained by the thought of his potential eternal loss because of the cruel deceptions of our enemy, so I am pained infinitely more at the thousands of souls perishing each day! Just as you crave that somehow your uncle could be saved; so I crave desperately that each of my earthly children will be told the story of redemption and will be saved! But I cannot do this. So I ask you, my dear daughter, to do this great task for me! Will you accept the call?”
By His grace and power, I and those God puts in my life will be ready for the Glorious Day to see a New Heavens and a New Earth!
“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:25-27 NKJV)