Our Missionaries

Wars, hurricanes, floods, poverty and pain.

What is a Christian to do with these things?

 

Faced with overwhelming suffering, Christians tend to adopt two extreme views of the world. Either we see the world as fundamentally evil, or fundamentally good. If we assume it is evil, we tend to adopt a crusading mindset against people from different faiths as enemies of God. Our prayers focus on heavenly concerns and rejection of the world. If we assume it is essentially good, we might embrace multiple paths to salvation, pray for world peace and focus on bringing immediate practical relief alone, forgetting that lasting transformation of societies can only be accomplished through the gospel of Jesus. Against these extremes, the Apostle Paul encourages a more prayerful view of the world. Romans 8 offers great encouragement for Christians who struggle to make sense of the sad events of our broken world. Paul invites us to embrace the extraordinary mission of the people of God within God’s overarching purpose: the rebirth of all creation. In this context, we can, with Paul, see the world as:

good, but incomplete (v 19)                      

good, but at present in bondage (v 20)

good, but awaiting liberation (v 21)         

good, but awaiting the future (v 22)

 

The heart of Paul’s invitation is: “in the same way” – an attitude of empathy and prayerful longing for God’s will, rather than either opposition or indulgence. When Christians learn to respond to world events through this kind of discipline of prayer, not only does creation groan, but we do too (Romans 8: 23). When we ourselves “do not know what we ought to pray for” – but seek to extend our prayers to include the salvation of the nations, we discover the God who is groaning also.

Kang-San Tan (The new General Director of BMS World Mission)