Recently, I was sitting at our beloved hometown coffee shop, Brad’s Bakery Bistro. This is a standard practice for me. You can probably find me there at least once or twice a week. On a typical afternoon at Brad’s, I pop in my AirPods and attentively listen to the “La La Land” soundtrack, sip an iced caramel oat milk latte, read various assorted excerpts for class and rapidly type some notes to prevent short-term memory loss from getting the best of me – all while sitting in the perfect spot near the window. But this particular time, I resisted the temptation to connect my AirPods and block out the external noise. Instead, as I caught up on my homework, I listened to the conversations around me. Call me an eavesdropper or an overly observant psychology student, but one conversation in particular piqued my interest.
As I sat wasting away in my chair, my AirPod-neglected ears became focused on the conversation between two elderly women behind me. I assume the two were on their weekly ‘coffee outing’ at Brad’s (relatable). Listening to their conversation unravel, I discovered that the two were close friends. Their conversation reminded me of similar ones I have with my grandparents back home, discussing changes in my family members’ lives, the Sunday sermon at church and the seemingly never-ending game of Dutch Bingo. But the two coffee-loving senior saints moved toward a topic that has become a thought-provoking lesson for me over the past few months. One woman said, “This world seems to be falling apart. Where is Jesus in all of this? I can’t help but assume it will come to an end soon.”
Questions and thoughts like these are something many of us have thought about, encountered online or heard mentioned in our local churches. Some of the most heavily reported topics are issues like the injustices at America’s border, the millions of people displaced around the world due to wars and corrupt governments and a massive human trafficking industry that sends an estimated 50 million people into a life of suffering, both physically and mentally. With problems like these, how can we not see potential signs of the second coming? I have also fallen victim to these thoughts.
While I spent my summer in Greece working with refugees, I witnessed many people who suffer because of deep systematic injustices, where they are treated as numbers, not given access to basic human rights and do not know what their tomorrow looks like. This lifestyle is exceptionally hard for me to wrap my mind around, but through these Persian people I learned the importance of being aware of the injustices that permeate our world. I feel ready to fight for justice, and the Christian faith should inspire us to do so.
We may not be able to singlehandedly change the ways of corrupt governments in other countries, but what would it look like if we, Christians around the globe who are already familiar with the cultures we operate in, were aware of the causes and effects of these worldwide issues? What would it look like if we worked locally to spread awareness of global issues and discovered ways we can actively help vulnerable populations? What if instead of asking, “Where is Jesus in all of this?,” we recognized that we are the hands and feet of Jesus, who are empowered through the Holy Spirit to spread the light of the Gospel throughout our communities and the world? Yes, the world is marked by wickedness and sin – it has been since the Fall in Genesis – but there is so much hope beyond that brokenness. I encourage you to look for the good in all things, be present in your everyday life, identify how you can be the light of Jesus, spread hope in a world that is seemingly “falling apart,” be aware of the importance of electing officials that are not just red or blue but align with how Christ calls us to live in this world and empower those around you to do the same.