Andrew Peterson: Everybody’s got the same ache; everybody’s carrying around the same sense of dissatisfaction with the state of the world. If they claim otherwise, I just don’t believe them. No matter how happy we are, there’s something nagging at us, something troubling at the periphery of our days, like we’re on a date and having a great time, but we can’t shake the feeling that we left the oven on. Something keeps us from perfect peace.
If we slipped out of the suburbs and affluence into a world where things like iPhones and viral videos don’t really amount to a hill of beans, a world where an actual hill of beans can be the difference between life and death, there would be no question that the world is broken. I’ve always sensed it, but the older I get the starker is the evidence. I see it in my own tired, sinful heart. I see it in my sweet children’s embarkation into adolescence and the grief it will bring. I see it in marriages and churches struggling to preserve their sacred unity.
And yet, even with all this darkness, there’s so much beauty. Why would that be? Why would we hunger for light and truth if we weren’t made for it? And if we were made for it, why must we contend with shadows and lies for the length of our days?
Tolkien said that sadness was part of what made the Lord’s symphony so beautiful, and I happen to agree. Joy untouched by sorrow is mere happiness.
There must be some deeper purpose behind this painfully slow redemption of the world, a purpose that turns the devil’s own tools against him – including our sorrow, which, when we don’t despair, only piques our longing. I believe there will be a reckoning, when Jesus will judge the quick and the dead, but as long as He tarries we ache for that day even as we proclaim it, even as we build the kingdom that is somehow coming and yet is already here.
I’ve never heard of this musician, but he’s bang on about the reality of living. As you enter your 50’s, the emptiness must be overwhelming for those who do not know Jesus. It’s bad enough anyway.