The good thing about jet lag was I woke up plenty early to see the sunrise.
It was the third morning of our trip to Israel and our last morning staying by the Dead Sea. Not wanting to miss this last opportunity, my roommate and I slipped out of our hotel room and slowly strolled down the street and across the sand. Two other friends had also woken up early and were already sitting on the beach.
None of us morning people, and all before our morning coffee, not many words were spoken and we all sat in silence reflecting as we watched the sun rise over the Dead Sea.
As I sat, I read part of Psalm 89:
I will sing of the lovingkindness of the LORD forever;
To all generations I will make known your faithfulness with my mouth.
The heavens will praise your wonders, O LORD;
Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones
As I read and prayed in the serenity of a sunrise, reflecting on God’s lovingkindness and faithfulness that I have seen in my own life, and as more vacationers slipped into the water for a relaxing morning swim in the Dead Sea, my mind wandered to the land around me.
One of the most common questions I received about my trip was about the safety of going to Israel. Before I left, people asked if I was worried, or if I would be safe. Since returning, people have asked if I felt safe while I was there. I understand (and appreciate) the concern people had over visiting Israel!
Even as I sat on the shore of the Dead Sea, water quietly rippling up onto the sand, and spa-goers peacefully floating and soaking in the minerals in the water, I looked across the water to the mountains that marked the country of Jordan. Jordan has become home to millions of Palestinian and now Syrian refugees as they flee the civil unrest going on in Syria. Traveling north less than 100 miles along the Dead Sea is the West Bank, one of the Palestinian controlled areas of Israel.
And yet the sun kept rising steadily. Water kept rippling quietly on the shore. Spa-goers kept floating peacefully.
In a country that has been torn apart by war, surrounded by political instability, I sat on the shore watching the sunrise and soaking in the peacefulness of the moment.
In this world of ours, we see see truly incredible beauty, peace, and goodness existing right alongside unspeakable evil, sin, and brokenness.
There is terrible woundedness, and yet glorious redemption.
To live in a fallen world is to live in this tension of brokenness and redemption. Evil and love. Conflict and peace.
This is true for the world, and it’s also true for the human heart. What exists as a macrocosm for humanity as a whole exists as a microcosm in our individual lives.
We’re broken but we’re redeemed. We sinful but we’re forgiven. We’re proud and selfish but we’re capable of great love and mercy.
In your life, you might have a day, a week, or a month where it feels like everything is falling apart. And yet in the midst of the chaos of your life, there are also moments of peace, beauty, and goodness.
You are never all broken. Your life is never all bad.
Even in the midst of conflict, evil, sin, and brokenness, beauty is breaking through.
Beauty will always break through.
Peace can always be found.
Hope is always available.
And so as people who have found hope, peace, forgiveness, and love in Jesus Christ, we need to proclaim this to the world.
Creation continues to proclaim the goodness of God. Sunrises and sunsets. Water washing on the shore. Nature continues doing what it was made to do, and in doing so reminds us of the One who created all things.
How much more so do the people of God need to continue to proclaim to a world that suffers deeply that we have found hope. That we have found peace. That no matter how bleak the situation seems, there is still a God who deeply loves them and offers them a second chance.