When you are from a third world country or if you have lived in a third world country, poverty, suffering, corruption, evil leaders, theft and a whole host of problems are nothing new to you. In fact, I often get surprised when I experience a system that works as it should, that is how bad I and many others who suffer for being born in a poor country feel.
Our harsh reality that we can’t run away from often feels like God is already punishing us and if he is not, one wonders if he has shut his ear to our lament.
Like the grandfather who mourns over their child who died leaving behind 6 orphans all because the hospital didn’t have enough medicine to treat his Malaria due to the fact that someone had decided to steal them for their own personal gain.
The parent who has to go to sleep every day knowing their genius of a child can’t proceed to university because they have no money for her tuition.
The young person who dreams of building systems that track the usage of government funds but is unable to do so because there is no electricity available for him to work.
The young father who has lost his wife and baby because the electricity went off during labor, which caused the loss of life for the mother and newborn.
The single parent with a child born with a disability, who knows that on this side of the world, any kind of disability is a death sentence.
The albino young lady, who risks her life every day when she walks to school because some witch doctor thinks her body parts are his token to prosperity.
The pastor who robs his congregation of the very last coin that they have, giving them false hope that God will miraculously bless them with money if they give all they have to him.
The people that look at all this misery, and think ‘how could it be possible that there is a God who looks at all this suffering and does nothing’.
These are our true stories – the burdens that we bear and the prayers that we pray.
Then there are some of us, who hold on to the faith that we have been given by God.
Yes it’s hard to imagine how we can possibly have faith in the midst of all this.
But truthfully speaking, this faith is all that we have and I cannot possibly imagine how someone can survive the third world without God.
Hope is all we have.
Actually, everyone has hope. Some place their hope on their favorite politician, some hope upon the dreams they have of a better life, while others have hopes of escaping their current misery.
Not so with Christians. Our faith is not a blind hope. We see the problems and acknowledge the amount of suffering these problems bring upon us. However, in the midst of all of it, we also see our God. We see and read what said in his Word. We see his ear towards the poor, the needy, the oppressed, the orphaned, the widows and those who need justice.
We are the poor.
We are the needy.
We are the oppressed.
We are the orphaned.
We are the widows.
We are the ones who need justice.
The harsh reality is that we may never get the vengeance we want on this side of heaven; we know it because year after year we see the system let us down.
But, we have a hope of a God who can never fail, unlike out presidents and ministers. He doesn’t lie.
He has promised us, and to His promise, we hold fast because ‘these words are trustworthy’.
Although we often reach a point where our only prayer is “Lord Maranatha!”, we know that he gives ear to our prayers. We know that he has defeated the evil one and he reigns sovereign-ly still over sin and injustice!
And he who was seated on the throne said,
“Behold, I am making all things new.”
Also, he said,
“Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”- Revelation 21:5
We know that he is justice and has brought justice to his people through Jesus Christ.
We know that there is world that awaits all his children, a whole different world. Where he will wipe every single tear away, a world with no tears and no suffering. He will make all things new, and those who have believed upon the finished and perfect work of Christ get to be in a new heaven and new earth. Where God will dwell with his people, he shall call them his and he shall be theirs.
This is our eternal hope and we know that all other things will let us down. We see the evidence all around us.
When the people we trust to serve us and to bring about laws that defend the weak and oppressed, it actually does the exact opposite. We know there is a God who will hold them accountable because he sees our suffering and takes note of it. Even when he doesn’t answer our prayers in this world, we know that ultimately, when judgment day comes, our King will avenge for us.
He is our Hope, our hope that never fails and is the only Solid Rock we can truly trust upon.
When your world is falling apart, when you are broken for things not working out in this world, remember dear beloved, that we have a God who is perfectly Just and Righteous and He is our Hope!
This doesn’t mean that our suffering magically disappears. It means we see it through his sovereign eyes. It doesn’t mean we sit and wait until judgment day, it means we faithfully work to make this hope known to others. It means we get on our knees and pray but also serve people by making attempts to bring a solution to their poverty and suffering (James 2:15-16, 1 John 3:17).
It also means, ultimately, that we use all our suffering as a way to point people to the greater hope that is Christ Jesus, since after all, it is our only hope.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18