I remember an intense week away on a youth camp, being asked a question - what is wrong with the world?
I immediately answered sin. Others had mentioned man's selfishness, greed and other specific sins. Looking back now I wonder what I really meant when I said sin. Did I just mean that the world was really dark and evil and there was just so much suffering? Or did I mean something more?
Anyone could talk about evil, darkness and suffering - whether from a faith background or not.
So, what does sin really mean?
Often people have said sin is active rebellion against God. So perhaps what’s really wrong with the world is that it's full of people rebelling against God. And why do we rebel against God? Because we don't know him, don't love him. But how do we know and love him when we are so full of sin?
We need to be made right with him. Recently I've thought more about what is really wrong with the world and what man's biggest problem is. It's so clear to me that man's biggest problem is not being right with God.
Family breakdown leads to an immense amount of heartbreak, suffering and often impacts many areas of our lives. Imagine being unable to speak to your brother or father. Imagine that but infinity times worse... man is unable to speak and relate and have deep beautiful intimacy with his creator. Nothing is worse than that. Nothing even dares come close.
Where problems come from
There are endless problems in all societies of the world. We have access to knowledge of the suffering of the world more than any other society has in history due to its display in the paper, on our phones, in the media. Everyone knows suffering but how come people are still asking,
“why there so much suffering in the world?”
We need knowledge of where our suffering and problems stem from. But thing is, man's been trying to understand the roots of our problems for centuries. The list is endless… loss, grief, poverty, racism, family breakdown. Much of the discourse around Australia's current issues is shifting blame on government systems.
Let's look at the first society that was created. It started with two perfect people. This world was good and without problems because man was right with God and trusted him with all things.
Our societies now are far from God, don't trust him and are therefore not good. We need to be right with God before we can start looking at how to fix things.
Because our world doesn't see the spiritual reason behind its problems it therefore only has temporary and not always satisfying solutions. We tend to fill the void we feel with things that aren't good for us and we end up even further away from God than we started.
Just last week I felt ill, upset and mentally overwhelmed. The stress of life had gotten to me and sort an end to my struggle through sleep, comfort food, complaining to family, and avoiding catch ups. I just wanted to be made well again through feeding myself with as much self-pity and rest as possible, believing that would help relieve my anxiety and I wouldn't be overwhelmed anymore.
However, I soon came to realise that the reason I was seeking such temporary fixes was because I hadn’t been looking to God for help. Weeks had gone by where a distrust of God had begun to root itself within me. I had become distant from him and didn't run to him like I had in other times. I began to weep as I realised how empty and lonely I felt.
I realised that the root of all my mental health issues was a result of not being right with God. I wasn't trusting in his hand over my life, his provision to provide mine and my family's needs, his strength to carry me through each day.
All those ways I had tried to fix my problems were good self-care mechanisms (besides complaining) but should be built upon a right relationship with God. Otherwise, they are just temporary fixes which only distract us from our problem.
Man can not only be distracted by temporary fixes but also temporary problems. People that do not know God think that the problems of this world are the only ones, yet how little do they know. The biggest problem is a spiritual one that goes beyond this world and has an eternal solution if we are to grab hold of it.
Being apart from God is man's biggest problem and will ultimately lead many to the gates of hell if it isn't fixed.
Unlike any other problem, this one has the most perfect, joyous and free solution! Turning to Christ for salvation, repenting of your sin and making him Lord of your life is all it takes to be made right with God.
Now once your deepest and biggest problem is solved, not all your other problems will suddenly disappear. That's definitely not what I'm saying.
But now, you'll have the most special and everlasting relationship with your King, Saviour and friend that all your other problems will seem small compared to what was once your deepest and biggest.
Renee Jenner resides in Sydney, Australia and is currently in her third year of studying Social Work. She is the first born of home-base missionary parents whose ministry has made a huge impression on her heart. She always writes from the soul to the soul, desiring to encourage readers to enjoy God, relax in His goodness and spread His love to the utmost parts of the earth. She loves a good cuppa with a deep, thoughtful conversation. You can find her other writings at renee.jenner.wordpress.com