As our community remembers the Pulse tragedy from one year ago today, our hearts yearn to know, "How much longer, O God, will this go on? What can we do?" With each tragedy, we think "maybe that will be the end of it" but it never is – and that is the sad reality. From Revelation 10, the trajectory of our world is not changing anytime soon. Pulse was yet another sign of the broken nature of our human condition, yet that is precisely why Christ came. He came to answer Pulse and Paris and Brussels and all the other pains of this life such that they will NEVER have the final word. While the timing of God's ultimate work is not known to us, it IS KNOWN to Him. In that, we can take solace. It may be a mystery to us, but it is not a mystery to Him. He also gives us His instruction for living in this "in between" season. He tells John in verse 11 that he is to continue his ministry of the Word – telling others "again" about the nature of the world and the reasons we are to hope in Christ. Again and again, we serve. We love. We give. Yes, we weep with those who weep and we mourn with those who mourn, but we know that our tears will one day be taken up in the larger joy of God's redemptive plan. Yes, the world is going to end, but in that day, in the word's of Tolkien, "A great shadow has departed…and everything sad is going to come untrue."
David Brooks began his column yesterday by comparing the ways in which different international leaders view the world. It was fascinating, but the question of "worldview" is not just for world leaders. We all have one. The question is: do we have the right one? This was exactly what the two disciples wrestled with as they walked the seven miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus in Luke 24. Jesus has been killed, there are rumors of resurrection, but they didn't know what to make of it. They didn't "see." When Jesus encounters them, they basically ask, "Are you the only one on the planet that doesn't know what's going on?" We do this often. When we are confused or pained by life, we will often ask God, "Don't you know what's going on down here? Do you not know how bad this is?" We see it through our lens instead of His. It is rich with irony. We who are blind trying to explain life to the only One who can see. What we need is what Jesus did with those two disciples. He moved towards them. He "encountered" them on the road of life. How comforting to know that Almighty God pursues us as His own. Jesus then helps them reframe their worldview - He helps them "see" their world through the right lens. He opened up the Scriptures and said, "Look, this is the story that frames everything, the story in which you find ME" - and when He did, He lit a fire in the hearts of those disciples even as God did on the day of Pentecost. Their hearts "burned" with the reality of God's revealed presence. Such revelation then leads to pure joy. The disciples ran the seven miles back to Jerusalem because of the joy that had been poured into them through the risen Christ. Their circumstances hadn't changed. Persecution and suffering still awaited, but their perspective had changed. They finally understood the story behind the story - the redeeming work of Christ playing out in the whole of life. May God allows us those same eyes that we might see Him at work in all things.