“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.” (Psalm 24:1-2 NIV)
Some days, I’m pretty sure that someone has turned my kids against me. I feel like somewhere, someone is letting my nearly 4-year-old watch unending episodes of the cartoon Caillou and my son is just trying to imitate how whiny and unreasonable that show’s main character is. I feel like maybe when I’m not looking, forest animals are challenging my nearly 2-year-old to screeching competitions and he wins by a landslide.
Just yesterday my oldest said a word I am positive neither Noah nor I have ever said in front of him. When I asked him where he heard that word, he said, “At the French fry restaurant.” I explained that we don’t use that word because it isn’t kind and it hurts people’s hearts to hear. But I cannot say we are now boycotting all restaurants that sell French fries and in no way do I feel that I should take up any sort of metaphorical arms against the manufacturers of French fries and those who sell them. Because no matter how the rest of the world acts, no matter the effect it has on my children for better or worse, they are always my children. They will never not be my children. Even if, when they grow up, they disavow our family or commit horrible crimes, they will still be my sons.
Right now it is easy to point at the world and say, “Bad! I can’t believe you’re doing this!” It’s even easier to for Christians to take a look and say, “Well this isn’t my home, this is not my world, I’m going elsewhere.” And one part of that is right: it is not our world—because it is the Lord’s. From creation to Revelation, God’s ownership of the Earth and everything that inhabits it is blaringly evident. And more than that, God’s unrelenting love for His creation keeps the Earth in motion, even if the people in it move in a way contrary to how He created them.
John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the WORLD that he sent his only son, that whoever should believe in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (NIV). That word “world” in Greek is kosmos, literally just the world, the whole thing, every tree and fish and person alike. No matter how bad it feels like things are getting, this will never not be His world. No matter the powers of darkness that try to encroach on the territory of human hearts and global disaster, this world will always belong to its Creator.
To quote P.P. Waldenstrom, the father of the Evangelical Covenant Church and one of the most important theologians in regards to atonement in our church history, “To speak of love which can refrain from loving, is just as absurd as to talk of a righteousness which can refrain from being just.” The idea that the world could be anything but God’s is just as absurd as saying God could be anything other loving because as we are told in scripture, time and again, God is Love (1 John 4:8) and the earth is God’s (Psalm 24, 1 Corinthians 16, Exodus 9:29).
So if you’ll allow a little math theory, if God is Love and the Earth and everything in it is God’s, then the earth and everything in it must be loved by God. In fact, it is so loved that He sent his son to save it. It is so loved that He promises us that He will return, move back in and set things right (Revelation 21).
So maybe we need a little perspective when we want to shout “How could this happen?” or “What were they thinking?” or “I can’t believe how terrible things are.” Because no matter how much my kids make me consider boarding school, I love them enough to die for them, and they will never not be my boys. No matter how hard things become and how bad it looks, we are held in the hands of a good Creator and we will never not be His.
Ali can be reached via email here.