The Broken World
1 John 5:4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world.
I had a rough day yesterday. I lost my red pen while grading tests. I had it one second and then it was gone the next. My computer had died earlier in the week. I had more stuff to do than I had time to do it in and I lost my pen. I am ashamed to admit it, but I threw a big boy tantrum (in my head). I may have even blamed God a little as He is obviously sovereign over my red pen. Seriously God, first my computer and now my pen?
A few hours later, I ran into a friend whom just the sight of reminded me of a tragedy her family had recently endured, losing a loved one in a horrible accident. I had two thoughts simultaneously. I am a terminal whiner and the world does not make any sense. How can I possibly begin to understand the apparent injustice that comes with this life? I whine and carry on at the smallest inconvenience while others are enduring unspeakable pain. The world is broken and I do not understand it. John said that those born of God will overcome the world. How is it that this man who followed God could be said to have overcome the world?
I think John is saying that the only way the world makes sense is if you take the eternal view that anyone who is born of God has a spirit life that is by definition invincible. We all eventually leave this world but like John, we can have the view that in a thousand years, the sorrows of this life will mean little. The world, in this sense, can not touch our ultimate reality, no matter what it may do to our temporary existence.
Still, what does this mean for me now? I find some comfort in the eternal perspective, but eternity is a long way off (I think). What does overcoming the world mean here and now? Is it just some intangible promise of the afterlife? Honestly, if that was all the new life offered, I may be tempted to wait until I thought I was nearer the end to embrace it.
Jesus said however, that eternal life is to know God in the here and now (John 17:3, Luke 17:21). Being born of God is not some far off promise. It is authentic life in this reality. God’s new life in me saves me from the brokenness of me and of the world. If my goal is to pursue self, then this plan is not for me. If, however, I am sick of the wreck of me, then God provides me with the perfect answer to my deepest needs.
It is in being born of God that I will truly overcome the brokenness of this life. The world in me is a disaster. God in me is how I overcome that disaster and get to the point where the world can truly do nothing to me. This real life is the life I love and want, so today, as always, I will seek God and leave the brokenness behind.