Sometimes it is difficult for me to feel comfortable in the world we live in…and not just modern society because I think the times have always been evil. I look at my shiny stainless steel gas grill in my backyard, the espresso stained IKEA shelves hanging from my walls, or even this IBM ThinkPad I am blogging from … such nice things, such convenient things, such blessings. I wonder if kings and queens in the past ever looked at their fine possessions and ever saw blistered hands and broken backs silhouette from behind. I’m guessing prophets had to play finger shadows for the royals who missed them.
It has taken me a while to realize my place in the world as an American consumer … as someone who enjoys the power and protection of a superpower state. And in spite of all the concerns about civil liberties as of late, I am confident that we still have far greater protection and comfort than most people do in the world and have throughout history. There is an idiom that says We stand on the shoulder of giants; I wonder if those giants include my brothers and sisters in China who work swiftly and repetitively in warehouses and factories–fueled by hunger and the hope that their country will rise to head of the international table. My grandparents worked in textile factories. My father and his siblings cut their hands assembling silk flowers in bulk when they were young. And now I live in relative prosperity and comfort. I do stand on the shoulder of giants.
It is a complicated world we live in, and knowing too much about it can not only paralyze your faith but also your humanity. Is there such thing as too much injustice? I can only guess that it takes a lifetime to investigate such an inquiry. Yet ignorance seems irresponsible and maybe even less human. Maybe that’s why we need faith in an omniscient God.
There is something deeply unappreciative in not enjoying weekend grilling, not displaying nice things on the shelf, or not being productive on my computer. It would be like tossing aside a silk flower because my dad worked hard and drew blood assembling it. And perhaps worse, it ignores the fact that God is the giver of all good things. Jesus lived in human flesh and saw worse things than I have ever even imagined, yet he never seemed to flinch from thanksgiving and praise, drinking and eating with friends.
Trusting in the providential God. Thanking the God who gives good things. Fearing the God who hates the marring of his image. These are the fundamentals of living in this world.