The following are some thoughts from past journal entries…

The world we live in has so many distractions.  “Important” work pulls me away from deeper, truer relationships with people.  Retirement funds convince me that the end goal is security.  Shopping malls pretend to be a form of entertainment, a means of finding “satisfaction.”  Somewhere along the way, I was seduced to strive for independence over interdependence, for safety over sacrifice.

Author Gary Haugen described his world as “a reasonably pleasant backyard patio.”  That is, until “confronted with the massive, violent oppression in our world.”  Life around me here in the USA seems to shroud the need for God.  The culture draws me to reverse my priorities and to become accustomed to living upside-down.  The more I am immersed in this culture, the harder it is to focus on what’s important and to see things for what they truly are.

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I want to be loving but I care more about my own protection.  I want to show appreciation but I keep it in for fear I might be overwhelmed with tears.  I want to serve others but would rather keep my distance.  I want to give up all I have but I choose to invest in myself.

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Another piece of our American distraction is thinking that the majority of the world lives like we do.  They don’t.  This world is broken and torn apart.  Injustice overwhelms countries like cancer and plagues lives too numerous to count.  Yet I sit here warm and well-fed on a leisurely Saturday afternoon as if it were all just a made-up story and the “real” world is calm and peaceful.  Having opened my eyes to the suffering, I can never truly rest peacefully, knowing I am one of the few privileged- by no accomplishment of my own.

I sometimes wonder what “God’s Kingdom come on Earth” is supposed to look like.  I know our world is far from the order, unity, and love found in God’s realm.  Our world is broken.  Broken.  Broken.  Broken.  Wars over pride, envy, greed- one after another.  Slavery, abuse, inequality, unsanitary conditions, violence, broken homes, broken families, broken relationships, broken countries, broken leaders, broken governments, broken churches, twisted values, shallow love, depression, despair.  Not a thing, person, or place is untouched by The Fall.  Nothing is perfect, nothing is as it should be.  It is said: the whole world groans.

But still, throughout this beat-up planet, there are sprouts of vibrant, healthy roots that battle the broken land.  Agape is alive in big and small ways.  In every thing, person, and place God is also flowing through their veins, persistently bringing hope, restoration, and love to every corner of the Earth.  It is my faith that allows me to trust.  I know who is the Victor.  Though I see just the smallest fraction of the big picture, I trust that I need do no more than that which God has entrusted to me:  Small things with great love.

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