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
Fifty years ago, the sweet harmonies of The Temptations took on a rough edge as they sang, “Ball of Confusion, that’s what the world is today.” In the two years leading up to the writing and release of the song, the United States had witnessed such everything from Neil Armstrong walking on the moon to half a million young people gathering for three days of peace and music near a place called Woodstock. Those two years also saw the continuing conflicts of the Vietnam War abroad and the Civil Rights movement at home. Then within two months of one another both Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy were assassinated. The group that had once given us the innocence of “My Girl” comes out with this song and its chorus, “Round and round and round we go, where the world’s headed nobody knows.”
While we find ourselves 50 years since the release of that song, the world has continued is seemingly confused spiral. Racism and injustice are still topics for pop songs and editorials alike. Added to the narrative today are an ongoing war on drugs and terror. Then comes along a global pandemic that paralyzes the world in fear. Round and round and round we go.
These are confusing times in our world today. However, we find great comfort from the promises of Romans 8. We cling to the certainty that nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus, our Lord. For we are sure that neither acts of terror, nor acts of violence, nor racial injustice, nor abortion, nor euthanasia, nor even world-wide pandemics can separate us from God’s great love for us. That is the message that we can shout from the streets and whisper from the podcasts and YouTube channels. It is a message of hope and certainty in the midst of a world of uncertainty. Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again.
Where The Temptations got it wrong is the idea that we do not know where the world is heading. We are looking forward to a new heavens and a new earth. This heaven and earth will indeed pass away, but not the Word of the Lord. For as all things were created by His Word, when our Lord comes again, He will cry out and take us to our new dwelling place, the home of righteousness. Our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that is awaiting us in the new heavens and the new earth. For what we have to look forward to is a place where there is no cancer or conflict, struggle or strife, scarcity or sickness of any kind. In fact, there will be no sin or death at all because the old order of things will pass away and God will make all things new. For in that new heavens and new earth will be a great multitude from every nation, tribes, peoples and languages gathered around Jesus Christ the Lamb of God who has taken away the sins of this world.
We are not there yet, but we know where we are headed. We also know that the sufferings of this present time are temporary, but the glory that awaits us eternal. That is what gives us the courage and strength to live as the saints of God in this ball of confusion. We do not ignore the problems of the world or hide away while we wait for Christ to return. We live each day where God has placed us as His holy ones who act justly, show mercy, and walk humbly with our God.
Prayer – O God, from whom come all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works, give to us, Your servants, that peace which the world cannot give, that our hearts may be set to obey Your commandments and also that we, being defended from the fear of our enemies, may live in peace and quietness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with Your and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan