Over the years, humanity has always dreamed of a world full of prosperity and peace. We sing it in our Kenyan national anthem: “May we dwell in unity, peace and liberty, Plenty be found within our borders…” it’s a longing we have that one day, all these shall be achieved. Vision 2030 speaks it all. And once we get there, we bid all problems goodbye.
Realities of a Broken World
But if the recent happenings are anything to go by, then we are still very far from the realization of our dreams. One of the T.V stations had a headline that read “Gun Country” depicting the spate of violence & insecurity that have dogged the country. And the question that lingers in our minds is “where can safety be found in this country?” With the memories of the Westgate Terrorist attack still fresh in our minds 10 months later (though Kenyans forget easily – the accept-and-move-on mentality), and the constant inter-clan killings in North-Eastern (Wajir, Garissa, Mandera, Moyale), cattle-rustling in the Rift Valley, then Mpeketoni Attacks happen- it’s like it’s become the norm.
Well, the cases mentioned may be exceptional and thus may not be a true reflection if the state of the country. What about the Thika Road & Mombasa blasts? What about the Gikomba attack which we seem to have forgotten? What about armed robbery and ‘kupigwa ngeta’ in broad daylight? What of the increased verbal tribal attacks that we see on social media? Think of how the family unit has disintegrated and we think the solution is to legalise polygamy and make it easy for one to walk out of marriage. And of course there’s the Bill introduced in parliament where, if passed, condoms and other ‘safe sex stuff’ will be availed to primary school pupils! And oh, how many are dying after consuming ‘illicit alcohol?’ This is how our society looks like.
As these things happen, we end up blaming the media for reporting negatively about the country and making the situation look worse than it is in reality. I don’t want to exonerate the media of blame but what about the many unreported incidences that happen across the country! Last time I visited my village I was told of how armed robber using a motorbike had stolen close to a million shillings from an M-Pesa shop at 9 in the morning. I was really shocked because this is unheard of in my village.
It’s not just in Kenya that we’ve got all these things happening. It’s all over the world. Think of Israel/Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Ukraine/Russia, the recent revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa, the US Gun Problems, Boko Haram in Nigeria. It’s a messed up world.
So what is the problem? We thought the world is becoming a better place especially with the advancing technology and increasing knowledge. But what we forget is that the problem is far greater than we think. We cannot treat symptoms and leave the disease and its root cause unattended.
The heart of the problem is the problem if the heart – that is where it all stems from. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Inasmuch as we would like order, our hearts don’t naturally love order. Inasmuch as we want peace, our hearts are full of rebellion and warmongering. Naturally, we reject anything that seems to stand in our way and bring inconvenience to us.
In his book Remaking a Broken World, Christopher Ash says:
“human beings [have broken away from] God’s loving rule and [have] decided to live their lives without reference to God who made them…. [The result is] the whole universe is put out of joint, & humanity becomes fractured and scattered. Fault lines appear all over the place, and men & women are at war with one another and misgoverning a world that cries out to be well governed. The world is a broken place because it is alienated from the God who made it.”
Man remains scattered, relationships broken and pride alienates us from God and from one another. So, what we do is build up our towers of Babel as high as we can so as to be our own gods.
Longing for Better Things
Will things get any better then? How are we to reverse this trend? Michael Jackson in his song Heal the World, says that if we human beings start to “Really Try” and “Care Enough” we can “Make it a Better Place” but clearly, the sad truth is that we cannot. But there’s something far much better than any human solution that we can offer. You see, this world has its Owner – the Creator and Sustainer of all things. He’s the one who brings order in it. Try to take Him out of the picture and all you have is chaos and confusion brought about by men trying to be gods and exercising oppressive dominion over others. All this marks life on this side of eternity. Yes, there are times of prosperity, enjoyment and good fun but they only last a moment.
The God who created this world is in complete control and hasn’t left the world to its own fate. Though we may raise the question that if there’s God then why all this disorder, the truth of the matter is that without this God exercising His sovereign control then the world would be even more chaotic. We ought to be grateful that God in His sovereignty and forbearance is so gracious to us not to leave us to our own devices but He limits and restrains the evil that happens. It could have been worse but God is gracious. Bad things happen, yes, but the God who lets them happen is total in control and determines the course of world cosmic events.
The film Bruce Almighty shows us what happens when one tries to play God – he crumbles under the burden of having to run the world. In one location, he is trying to take care of a sick child yet in another there’s a car accident happening that needs to be taken care of too. But he can’t do that. What about at night when he is asleep? He can’t take care of anything. Simply, man cannot be God but the good news is that God has become man and lived among us. He dealt with sin and God’s punishment for sin by dying on the cross in our place and giving us right standing before God. So, if we trust in Him, we are reconciled to God and can live in this life with great courage & confidence despite what we may go through.
The real hope for the peace and prosperity that we crave for then lies in the very God who knows the original plan and design for His creation and is working out not only to restore it to the former state but also to recreate it totally anew!! He left His throne above, came and dwelt with His sinful, rebellious people so as to reconcile them back to Himself. Man forever remains alienated from God but He Himself came down so as to save this rebellious man, deal with the root cause of the problem (sin) which disordered creation and renew His creation. In the midst of the chaos, God is working out His purposes for His creation, to the praise and glory of His name.
So, what do we make of the situation then? We cannot run away from the reality of things – it’s a broken world when man wants to be autonomous and above God and as a result everything is in shambles. Our hearts should be pained by these things because that’s not how it’s supposed to be. This is supposed to create in us that hunger and thirst for that better world. God hasn’t left us to our own devices – He is in the process of recreating this disorderly world – He is restoring humanity into its rightful position and crating the world anew. What we look forward to then is a world where
‘death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away’ (Revelation 21:4).
This is our true hope, not only for today or tomorrow but also for eternity. And rather than trying to work hard on remaking the world ourselves, we can trust in the one who made it and is remaking it anew.