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Talking hope with a Hindu friend

by on May 18, 2014

We were sitting in a cafe, my Nepali friend and I, talking about the troubles in Nepal in recent history. Him talking, that is, and me listening.

He was expressing his disappointment with the world in general, and with people in particular. Too much corruption, too much poverty. In spite of the many gods of his people, he felt the world is pretty random and impersonal. I listened a long time.

Then I showed him a Christian perspective on this, from Psalm 24.

The earth is the LORD’S and all that is in it,
the world, and those who live in it; 

The world is the personal possession and concern of God. I could see he wasn’t impressed. He didn’t say it, but I reckon he was thinking, “if the world is God’s then he’s got a lot to answer for.” But I showed him the next part of the psalm:

Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?
And who shall stand in his holy place? 
Those who have clean hands and pure hearts,
who do not lift up their souls to what is false,
and do not swear deceitfully. 

Talked to him about God’s purposes in creating the world: purposes of blessing. The world as it now is, is not how the LORD intended it. But he has given us this vision of God’s mountain, a new society where people know God and treat each other with respect and love. No corruption, no bribes, no violence or slander. People who behaved like that, would have no place there. A place safe for children, a place you could bring up your family in safety.

I could tell he liked the sound of it – who wouldn’t? But equally, it was obvious he had reservations. Why should he believe in a world like that, when everything he’d ever experienced suggested that the world was full of bloody hands and corrupt hearts? If God wanted that pure world, why does he allow this dirty one?

What should I do at this point? How to answer this query? I could have taken the classic Calvinist line, explained to my friend the difference between God’s providential will and his revealed will. Although God decrees that all this bad stuff will happen, it’s not really what he wants. Etc.

But I noticed the Psalm went somewhere different to resolve this, so I followed it instead:

 Lift up your heads, O gates!
and be lifted up, O ancient doors!
that the King of glory may come in. 
Who is the King of glory?
The LORD, strong and mighty,
the LORD, mighty in battle. 

God has a victory yet to complete. The earth is the LORD’s and everything in it –  and he’s coming to sort things out.

From → General

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