I am generally happy with my life and the world I live in. While I could easily find ways to improve it, it is OK the way it is. But I know that is not true of everyone, or even the majority of folks. For many, life is hard and they just barely manage to survive; many failing to do even that. We live in an imperfect world: natural disaster, disease and human choices, both our own and others, cause untold suffering; not just to people, but to every creature that inhabits this planet. While, as a race, we might dream of a more perfect place, and take steps to move in that direction, the reality is that we seem to be sliding further and further away from the perfection we all long for.
But why does it fall short of perfection? Obviously we humans are the cause of much of the imperfection. But we are not really responsible for earthquakes and hurricanes; those things are a natural part of how the planet works.
I believe that God is the creator, of this world as well as the whole universe. But if he created it, should it not be perfect? Is he not smart enough and powerful enough to be able to figure out, and produce, a better way? Would it really be so challenging to produce a world without mosquitoes?
There are those who will argue that God did indeed create a perfect place for us, and that Adam’s sin in the garden of Eden is the reason that it is no longer perfect. But even if the story of the fall in the garden is taken literally, it seems a reach to claim it caused the earth’s crust to fracture into plates and then begin to move; high and low pressure patterns to develop in the atmosphere; dogs and cats to become meat eaters; or microbes to start preying on humans.
But what if God created a world that was good, but not perfect? That would certainly be within the capabilities of an omnipotent, omniscient creator. But why would he intentionally create something that was less than his best; unless it better suited his purpose? But what purpose could there be in creating an imperfect world, unless maybe it was to create in me a longing for something that was better than what I have here.
If this life were perfect, then I would be perfectly content to live out my days here without giving a thought for anything else. But if this life is not perfect, if I can imagine a world that is better, then I will long for that. It may drive me toward making improvements in the world around me; seeking perfection here. But history has shown that we will likely never reach perfection here; and the trend seems to be in the opposite direction. So I am left with a longing that cannot find fulfilment in this life.
But the creator does hold out for me the promise of something that is much better than what I have here, something that is beyond my wildest imagination. But that promise comes with a catch. I must be willing to let go of what this life has to offer, instead choosing to follow Jesus as his disciple. If I will be his in this life, then I will be his through eternity, sharing in his glory in that perfect place that he has prepared for his own. The choice is yours: striving for happiness in an imperfect world; or surrendering to Jesus lordship now, in expectation of the glory that will be revealed in the life to come.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. – Matthew 16:24-27 NIV