We are all shaken by recent world events. Even as the Covid-19 pandemic continues its deadly rampage in the world, we are bombarded daily with news of floods, forest fires and civil unrest around the world. At home, we are still recovering from the shock of the tragic murder case in a school.
Sin entered this world through Adam (Rom 5:12). When Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate of the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden, the seed of disobedience was sown in mankind. Thus man is born with an innate disregard for his Creator. We are by nature self-seeking and do what is right in our own eyes (Eph 2:1-3). Throughout history, sinful men pit against each other and commit harm for selfish reasons. Regrettably, we will witness conflicts, fights, murders and wars daily in this fallen world.
In addition, Rom 8:19-22 tells us that God has also subjected this physical world to futility and corruption because of Adam’s sin. Natural calamities, genetic, physical and mental disorders, sicknesses, diseases and death are all part of the consequence of the Fall.
While Christ died and rose again to usher the reign of God into the hearts of every believer, we do not yet see this world placed under His rule (Hebrews 2:8). This world will only be liberated from the bondage of sin and corruption on the day of His return.
Until then, how should we live in this imperfect world? How can we respond empathetically to a world broken by sin? Perhaps we can learn from Daniel of the Bible.
- Mourn with the World
“Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.” Daniel 9:3
Israel was in Babylonian captivity because of her sins. Daniel fasted and prayed, standing in solidarity with his people and mourning before God in humility and repentance, seeking His mercy and grace.
Likewise, we should not be busy judging and assigning blame when we witness disasters, plagues and death. These are sobering reminders that the world is under the curse of sin. Rather, let us stand in solidarity with this world in mourning. Let us acknowledge that we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glorious standard. Let us weep over the detrimental effects of sin in this world and come humbly before God to ask for forgiveness and mercy.
- Hope In God’s Covenantal Love
“I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments…” Daniel 9:4
Daniel did not just mourn over the sins of his forefathers, he also clung on to the promises and the steadfast love of God towards His people.
God’s covenantal and steadfast love is most revealed in Jesus Christ. God sent His Son to die for this world so that whoever believes in Him will be saved from eternal condemnation (John 3:16). Apostle Paul realises this and clings on to this truth: “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32) In Christ, we come to know that the steadfast love of God knows no end. He is not indifferent towards the sufferings in this world. It is His desire to deliver His people from the effects of sin.
Let us therefore approach the throne of God with our eyes fixed on Christ, so that we may find mercy and grace in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
- Yearn For God’s Reign
Daniel also called upon God to save His people for His own glory’s sake – that when God restores Jerusalem, neighbouring nations will come to know of His great power and mercy and His name will be glorified (see Daniel 9:17-19).
Our Lord Jesus Christ taught us in Matthew 6:9-13 to pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” This world is in chaos because it has rejected the Creator and His reign. Even as we witness the broken state of this world, let us pray that God will restore her to a world under His peaceful reign, where His name is revered and His will be done.
- Avail Ourselves for His Service
When Daniel heard that the king was about to put to death all the wise men in Babylon, he availed himself to do something about the situation. He offered to interpret the king’s dream. He sought prayers from his likeminded companions that God would reveal the mystery of the king’s dream to him, and God did (see Daniel 2:16-18).
As we witness the sufferings in this sin-broken world, we can avail ourselves to be God’s conduit of love. We can give to the poor, minister to the hurting, and employ our gifts and talents to serve the needs around us. In the words of a prayer often attributed to Francis of Assisi:
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
May this be our prayer in this world of pain and suffering.
Pastor Rick Toh