I hope the title of this devotion piqued your attention, and possibly triggered a grin or a chuckle. Yes, I'm playing off the old infomercial that so often gets humorously quoted. You know the one with the pitiful lady who is in distress, yet has the emergency alert system to call for help? "I've fallen, and I can't get up!" I bring that silly nostalgic pop culture quote up for you to think about another big fall. We, the human race, in our sin, have fallen. And we can't get up. At least not in our own ability, strength, holiness, or religious performance.
The questions that I probably hear most often out in the world posed by religious skeptics, or even those struggling in their faith is this: "Why do bad things happen to good people?' Or, "Why would God allow so much suffering, evil, and death in the world?' Those are important questions to consider, but biblically they are not difficult to answer.
First, there are no good people. According to Romans 3:23, "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." Verses 10-12 of the same chapter speak to the fact that there is no one righteous. No one seeks God, and no one is good. I am aware that is a sobering thought. Yet it is one every person needs to consider.
Secondly, God is not the author of the bad stuff. He did not create evil and suffering. It was our sin that brought hardship into the world. In Genesis 3 when Adam and Eve sinned, the Bible is clear that death entered for the first time. Suffering would become a reality in the world. Cancer, sickness, disease, and yes, even killing and strife, would now define our race. Because we chose sin . . . and we choose sin. Genesis 3 even states that nature itself fell. This gives insight into the natural disasters that so often cause people to question God.
It is easy to blame God. Yet think about the suffering that takes place as people hurt people. Think about the starving children in the world that could be fed, if the world would feed them. Issues like that are just the tip of the iceberg. Indeed, selfishness is why much of the bad stuff happens. But what about the stuff like cancer? A result of a fallen world. But there is good news. Even in the midst of falling down and not being able to get up, we are given hope. Living Hope in Jesus. He will give us all we need in a fallen world as we trust in him. He picks us up! (Psalm 40)
A precursor to this hope is in the Garden of Eden as well. When Adam and Eve sinned God had to clothe them with animal skins. Here we see the first sacrifice for sin made, as an animal had to lose its life. A foreshadowing of the Jewish sacrificial system is painted. The ultimate and final sacrifice of Jesus is the supreme culmination of the picture. We see grace. For it is God who provided a covering suitable for Adam and Eve in their nakedness.
I do not claim to have the answers to all of the mysteries of life. Struggle and pain is real. To be sure, there are a lot of deaths, challenges, diseases, and even disasters that take place. I know ultimately they are a result of sin, but specifically we want God to protect us. Often he does, even more than we understand. And even when we can't see the eternal big picture, we know that God is ultimately in charge and will work out things according to His plan in ways that we might not see or understand until Heaven (Romans 8:28-29). Until then, we rest in the living hope we have in Jesus.
We have fallen, but in Jesus, we can get up. "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). I believe a key phrase in that verse is "in Christ Jesus." This phrase repeats numerous times all throughout the New Testament. There are going to be challenges along the way. Life is not easy. There will even be unanswered questions. But when you are in Jesus, you are given His very life. You are trusting in the One who holds all answers as He holds you. His grace, just like those animal skins, is sufficient to cover your sin. Jesus' loving grace will pick you up and breathe life into you every day. Without it, we are helpless. Jesus lived the life we could not live, and died the death we deserve, and rose again, so we would have everything we need in this fallen world suffocated by sin. Rest in Him.
Ashley Mofield is the Senior Pastor at White House First Baptist Church, 2800 Highway 31 W in White House, (615) 672-3266.