I believe that God is at work in the world.
As a Christian, this should not be a controversial statement, but many would disagree, at least in practice. If we believe the world is a scary place, full of danger, darkness, hatred, and pain; if we then live our lives in fear, isolation, protectionism, and suspicion; if we define other people as our enemy and trash creation–if any of these are true–then we are denying the reality of God at work in our world.
I believe God created the heavens and the earth. I have no idea how that happened, what it meant for God to speak and suddenly photons are flying through space at the speed of themselves. I do not know how God formed the earth, lit the stars, set the universe in motion, or sparked life into existence. I stand in awe of the beauty and complexity of creation and am constantly amazed at the scientific discoveries that show this world in ever smaller, ever greater, degrees of complexity.
I believe there is beauty in the world. I see the sky and the clouds, the deep endless variety of blue that as a Kansas girl provides the boundaries of my visible world. I drive the Flint Hills and observe the green, brown, yellow foliage that feeds animals wild and domestic. I see the frolicking calves, the bounding deer, the soaring eagle and flitting swallows playing in spaces that fit them like a tailored suit.
I meet people whose individual personalities delight me, from the cynic, to the organizer, to the ever-optimistic, to the deeply compassionate, the humorist, the critic. Each one with perspectives to share, experiences to recount, and a light to shine.
I do not see the world through rose-colored lenses, though. I know there is pain. I know there is violence. I know both are closer than I want to admit. Each one of those people I meet have scars, I have them myself.
But I believe we have a choice.
We can choose to see the good, beautiful, gracious gift of the world and all who are in it or we can cower in fear that pain will come knocking on our door. We can set our eyes on God at work in the world and receive comfort knowing that we are not alone in seeking good and just and beautiful endings. We can choose to join God in pursuing dreams of a world that is healed, and lives that are healed, and communities that are healed.
We could also choose to shut ourselves away. We could focus on the darkness. We could build our walls higher, our moats deeper, our cannons larger, our swords sharper.
When the darkness is the biggest presence in our view, it is impossible to walk in love. Love requires an open heart, and fear shuts it down. Love requires the willingness to sacrifice, but fear makes us hoarders. Love requires that we listen and learn from one another, but fear galvanizes our opinions until we are incapable of hearing and considering the perspectives of others.
I believe God is at work in the world and is looking for people to join in. God’s work is love in action. Will we choose to see the light of love and rejoice, or will we fixate on the darkness?
A Refreshing choice.