I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

John 14: 18

 

When we hear about orphans, some powerful images usually come to mind. In the world today, we don’t have to go very far for those images to have real faces and stories attached to them. We see their dazed and disoriented gazes and hear about the families that disappeared in a furious instant with such regularity that it almost seems like this sort of news is normal or routine like the recitation of the outside temperature. Yet, this is not how the world was intended to work, for it all comes about because of the predatory nature of evil and in response to a form of godlessness that is running rampant in our streets. This brutal violence is intended to crush the hope and the spirit out of people as it portrays this world as a place where God has gone away to find a quieter or a safer place to dwell. Again, the voices that speak of such a distant and disengaged God are deliberately deceptive and are wrong.

 

As He was preparing His followers for the realities of His death, Jesus clearly informed them of two fundamental aspects of the times to come. One was that as Jesus was put to death and so left them, He would send another, the Holy Spirit, who would continuously dwell with them. The other aspect of this new order that was soon to exist in creation was that even after the brutal death of the cross, Jesus was still alive. Jesus overcame the greatest power that evil could utilize for its purposes and returned to be visibly and tangibly present in the lives of these same people who had journeyed with Him for the previous days and years. This was all great and reassuring for the first disciples, but what does it do for me and how does it all apply to the victims of our world’s crushing hatred and anger?

 

Jesus did come to them, and He did not leave. He is alive and present in this world to this day. The Holy Spirit lives within each of us who believe in Jesus as our Savior, Lord, and risen king, and He is unrelentingly the victor over evil in our times. The Kingdom of God is present here and now. People who know Christ are never alone in our journeys through life; we are not orphans; rather, we are beloved children of the Great King. This all sounds good, but what does it actually mean? For me it says that even as I face the world’s death and the destruction that are screaming their taunts in my face, I can respond with the truth and the love of Christ while knowing that this is the only effective answer. In the presence of Christ I can confidently hold fast to the kingdom principle of peace in which bigger weapons and greater force of arms are never the solution to evil’s aggression. I can take in and care for the damaged, the broken, and the oppressed of this world while knowing that the opinions of others do not matter, for in so doing, I am demonstrating the care of those people’s loving and very present Father.

Advertisements