GOOD, GOOD NEWS
There was a season in my life when I simply didn’t keep up with world events. I never watched the news. I didn’t have social media. I wouldn’t read the paper.
I didn’t want to know what was going on in the world. Because the only things that ever seemed to happen were bad. The news was always bad news. News full of tragedy and hopelessness and despair. News of heartache and natural disasters and terrible people doing terrible things.
In the past several days, I have been reminded of that blissful period of ignorance. Because in the last several days, the news hasn’t been good.
For awhile, social media and news outlets alike were wrapped up in a terrible rape case where a privileged white college athlete was merely slapped on the wrist for his deplorable actions against an unconscious girl at a college party. This disgusting act was trivialized by the boy’s father, who said he shouldn’t be punished for “twenty minutes of action.”
Attention shifted early this week to the city of Orlando, when we awoke to reports that a single gunman had killed 50 people and wounded another 53 in a night club. While most of us were sleeping on a Saturday night like many others, a mass shooting was taking place. Our country grieved with a city devastated by tragedy. But before we had time to even digest what had happened or properly put that many deaths into perspective, discussion turned political and centered around gay and lesbian rights or gun control and 2nd amendment issues.
We didn’t make it more than halfway through the week before another hostage situation occurred in a Walmart in Texas. Tragically, many of us never even batted an eye at this news. Because it seems to just be normal.
Then, early Wednesday morning, reports came in that a 2-year-old little boy had been attacked by an alligator and was missing. In Orlando, no less, where tragedy has already placed a stranglehold. Every day something horrific seems to be taking place.
All the while, with each passing day, thousands of innocent unborn babies are slaughtered because mothers are too scared or too selfish to deal with the consequences of their decisions and the impact that those consequences might have. Of course, these murders are not reported, because they are legal.
Slow media days are often hijacked by our nation’s pitiful presidential election, where supporters of either candidate irrationally attack and scrutinize others who disagree with them on social media. One candidate is erratic, impulsive, and filled with hate while the other has proven to be a shady, lying politician with a liberal agenda in support of murdering innocent babies.
And with all of these tragedies and this evil surrounding us and capturing all of our attention, many of us never once think about the terrible situations that face many of our fellow human beings on a daily basis.
Like the countless folks who don’t have a home to go to. The ones who sleep outside and have to beg for food.
Or the countless women and children who routinely face physical, verbal, and emotional abuse in their own home from someone who should love them more than life itself.
Or the women who have been trying to get pregnant and can’t. Or the ones who are finally able to tell their husbands that their family will be expanding only to have to mourn secretly because of another miscarriage.
Or all of the tragedies that go unreported because it wouldn’t make a good news story or because it happens without anyone knowing it.
All of the heartbreak as the waves of life come crashing down upon us over and over and over again with no sign of stopping.
There is so much evil in the world. There is so much despair. There is so much bad news.
At what point do we give up? At what point do we stop hoping? At what point does hopelessness and despair finally conquer our ability to get up in the morning? Where do we turn?
Amid all of this bad news, I have found myself returning time and time again to the truth of what Scripture says. To the gospel of Jesus Christ. To the good, good news.
I have been reminded that since the days of Adam in the Garden of Eden all of us – whether men or women, gay or straight, white or black, young or old – have sinned. We are born into it. Our world is devastated by the effects of it. Death everywhere. Evil everywhere. Bad news.
Our sin is deserving of punishment. Death. We deserve to die for the sin we have committed against a holy, majestic, righteous God.
But in his great love for us, God sent his Son in the form of man to take that punishment for us. He died so that we don’t have to. And in his death, the righteousness of God has been given to those who repent, who turn from their sin and believe in him. The great exchange. Jesus suffers and dies in our stead, and we receive the righteousness from his perfect life on his behalf. The fragrance of that glorious grace is intoxicating.
That, my friends, is good news. That is why it is called the gospel. And that is where I put my hope.
I know that at some point today, more heartache and pain is going to come. And then again tomorrow. Despair seems to be all around us.
But I know that my God is bigger than all of it. My God is sovereign. My God is in control. My God is seated on his throne in heaven, not at all surprised by what might happen today. We are not spinning around in orbit flailing about hopelessly. We are under his control. His counsel shall stand, and he will accomplish all his purpose (Isaiah 46:10).
My God has a love that is intoxicating. A love that overwhelms. A love that went to the cross for the sins of his people. A love that expresses good news in a world seemingly without it.
And one day, God will ultimately put an end to all of the troubles of this world. There will be no more bad news. God is going to fix everything. Jesus will come again and death and evil will be defeated for good. There will be no more despair. There will be no more hopelessness.
And even though the tragedies of today are sometimes seemingly unbearable, remember that the sufferings of this world are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us (Romans 8:18). And the afflictions of today are preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison for tomorrow (2 Corinthians 4:17).
That is good, good news.