I suppose that the world’s chaos prompts this question as much as anything else. A story in the paper a couple days ago detailed a woman’s horrific trek out of drought-ravaged Somalia, on foot. Along the way, she had to leave one of her children behind who had succumbed to dehydration. Brutal! That same day I received a homemade video journal of a boy who nursed a hummingbird back to health. It is the first time I have ever seen a person interact so intimately with one of these delicate, creatures. Magnificent!
Two things that have always been said about the world from age to age is that it seems to have been created for a great purpose (magnificent), but it obviously appears as though something has gone wrong (brutal). If the world’s brokenness stems from human corruption, why make man? If God is all-knowing and all-seeing, why proceed knowing human beings would fail? Would Gepetto have made Pinocchio knowing ahead of time what a mess he would make? Perhaps this question falls into the category of “the top ten things I want to ask God after I die.” But then again, we may be able to find a bit of a foothold for now.
Even the world’s greatest cynics suggest that life, just as we know it, is worth the struggle. Thomas Hobbes is one of those who had no hope beyond the here and now. He is famous for saying that “Life is dirty, nasty, brutish…and short.” Short? What? If life really is just dirty, nasty and brutish, wouldn’t “short” be a good thing? Isn’t he making two complaints that contradict each other? Whether he intended it or not, even the great cynic suggests that it’s all still worth it. So, if the value and worth of life keeps breaking into our deepest cynicism, then how much more might we consider, from an eternal perspective, that the ends must somehow justify the means–or–that making creatures with an independent will, capable even of betrayal, could somehow be redeemed.
I take heart in the suggestion lodged within a different question–one from Samwise Gamgee, a character in the trilogy, The Lord of the Rings. At the end of the final book, he comes face to face with his dear friend whom he had believed to be dead, and with profound trust and simplicity asks, “Is everything sad going to come untrue?” If we can believe the universe was created in the first place, we certainly can accept that the one Who made it is capable of, as the Brittish say, “Putting things to rights.” So in addition to the two things we know about the the world (it was created good and, it is terribly broken) we may add a third. It will be restored. That is a promise that can only buoy us by faith. It suggests that, despite the pain and suffering we face, God knows it is worth it. If God is God, then sometimes we must let Him know some things we don’t. Could this be one of them?