When I was in my twenties I started to go walking for miles in the area I lived in. And I mean miles. I have walked from Wigan to Liverpool often. (Google Maps if you are interested in the distance) Wigan to Southport, Wigan to Manchester. But most of my walks were exploring the Lancashire countryside. Sometimes I didn’t know where I was going, I just headed out on country tracks and public footpaths and tried to keep a sense of my bearings so that I could return home before it was dark.
I was usually alone when I walked. It was a “healing” time for me. I had experienced my first encounter of what could be termed depression – although I didn’t speak to a Doctor or professional about it. I had just ended a seven year courtship with my boyfriend. Around the same time one of my best friends had died of cancer. I also had illness and frequent hospital appointments. I was low. I didn’t want to eat. I was very sad all of the time. Going out walking seemed to be good for me.
One evening I was up at the top of Hunter’s Hill near Parbold in Lancashire, sitting on a bench and looking out at the golden sunset. Suddenly a man appeared. He was a cyclist and after leaning his bike against the wall, he asked if I would mind him sitting beside me on the bench (something that I would dread after I was attacked in 2015, but at the time I was not worried about). He sat there looking out at the beautiful view and he ate a sandwich. He turned to me and remarked that the view was really spectacular that night. I agreed. He then said, “it makes you wonder doesn’t it, with so much beauty in the world, why is there so much evil? What is this world coming to?” I said nothing.
That conversation was a huge wake-up call for me. I came home feeling ashamed of myself. I said nothing. I, who knew very well what this world is coming to, because I have read about since I was five years old. I said nothing. I realized how self-absorbed I was with my own concerns, and from that day forward I decided I was no longer going to sulk.
It wasn’t the first time I had heard that question, and certainly not the last. In fact I regularly hear friends, workmates and strangers I start chatting with, ask the same question. But it is a question I have been determined not to shy away from. I have learnt from experience that some who ask that question are not really interested in an answer. It’s more an expression of their frustration. But others do want answers.
I have picked up pamphlets from displays outside tube stations in London, (don’t tell the mayor, but the best place to go for answers is a London tube station it seems) and had conversations with people, whose fingertips are like lightning as they navigate the scriptures, showing me not their own opinion, but the words of our Creator. I have huge respect for them. They must sometimes put up with verbal abuse and ridicule, but they are always there, day in day out, standing, waiting, unobtrusive, smiling, well-dressed, looking as if there is a joy within them that radiate through every pore.
When I went to Australia, I was walking down a main road in the city centre, and they were there. I knew who they were. In fact the first thing I said to them was “you are all over London”, which might not have made much sense to them. I was really jet-lagged at the time, but the two young women were very friendly. Their main concern was that I didn’t look well. So on that occasion, all they did was help me towards a gallery which was cooler and there were plenty of seats and a great cafe. I appreciated their kindness very much.
So the next day, knowing I would be walking down the same road again, I wanted to go and thank them. But they weren’t there. I carried on walking along the road, and there was an identical display with pamphlets, the same as the one those two young women were standing next to, but this time there was a man and a woman. I walked past and smiled at them. A minute or so later, I turned around and walked back. Because of a conversation I had with them (when I think I bombarded them with questions for a few hours), since I came back to England I have been e-mailing them and reading all of the links to a website they use. I have seen it before, but I didn’t know about the interactive courses on their website.
I am enormously impressed by the educational materials they use, including the interactive courses on their website. They want me to go to a big event on the other side of London in a couple of weeks. I am trying to see if one of my friends might come along with me. Why am I telling you all this?
Well, the main reason I enjoyed chatting with them is that they were calm, respectful, eloquent, and time and time again, when I asked a question they turned to a page in the scriptures and asked me to read it. They didn’t tell me what it meant. They asked me what I understood from what I had read. I have all the time in the world for people who are respectful and reasonable. They have my attention big time. So when I saw Melanie’s questions in this week’s SHARE-YOUR-WORLD, I thought of what I have been reading on their website and the way they answered questions. I have referred to it again and again when considering these questions.
So I have two things to say now: this is a long post. I know many of you have a scores of posts waiting in your WP Reader, so please do not feel obliged to read this entire post. Secondly, I refer to a lot of scriptures. So if you have no interest in the scriptures, well, you might not enjoy this post. I am no preacher. But Melanie has asked some very important questions. I am no authority on these subjects. But for me, the scriptures are.
But if you enjoy long posts, and if you are interested in why there is so much beauty in this world and yet so much evil, if you watch or read the news of world events, and feel no little concern, and wonder are there answers to our questions: “WHY?” then you might find this post interesting. Here is Melanie’s original post with this week’s SHARE-YOUR WORLD questions:
Does life have a reason (meaning)?
I thought this question seemed familiar – I have just been working on a nomination award from Kristian aka Tales from the mind of Kristian which held a very similar question. This is the answer I had already prepared for the question Kristian had given me:
Hmm. Why do a couple who are in love decide to have a baby and start a family? Why does someone decide to share the gift of life? I guess some may have their own reasons, but surely a father who wants to start a family is thinking of how wonderful life is and how much he wants to share of all it’s wonder with his child. How much beauty and delight there is. Surely he wants his child to enjoy being alive and to love our beautiful home planet.
If you have been blessed to have been immersed in an upbringing marked by unselfish love and happiness, and are used to thriving and feeling satisfied, purposeful and secure, the point of existence is probably not a troubling question. Life should be many many shades of wonderful. It is a beautiful gift. We have been given the perfect home. There is a huge array of satisfying purpose and exciting adventure available. There is endless opportunity to grow inside and develop beautiful qualities. There are beautiful people to forge friendships with and share all the pleasures of life with. That’s what we and our planet were designed for.
I am very well aware that many are deprived of what they should have – an upbringing within a safe and secure family life. It hurts to think how many may feel alone and lost, abandoned and let down. Too many are used and abused, robbed of their dignity and of their ability to enjoy life. It just breaks my heart.
But I look forward with eager expectation to major changes so that humans, animals and our planet can no longer be devastated – rather, there will be healing on a major scale. Frankly, I feel there are a lot of aspects of the way the world operates today that are not just unacceptable, they are monstrously, grossly inadequate. I saw a news report the other day about “the mental health crises” in primary schools, with an alarming number of young children feeling depressed and despairing.
For many today – life is just an existence. That has to change. Life will be exquisite and enthralling for everyone breathing. That is what the Giver had in mind – and I am sure he cares diddlysquat for those who have developed a system that crushes people’s sense of hope and enjoyment of the real life He had in mind for us.
In the future, life will be extremely satisfying and rewarding – full or purpose, interesting work, accomplishment, adventure and lots of fun! And that is for everyone – not just those who happened to be born within certain post codes and have attended private schools.
Will the world come to an end by human hands (man’s actions)?
I wondered whether in this question you are referring to the physical planet on which we live – the earth. The “world”, that the scriptures indicate will come to an end, is not this planet. In fact, our Creator has a beautiful purpose for this earth, and He states that nobody in the universe will prevent that purpose from being accomplished. So, I thought to answer this question, I might highlight some of what our Creator says about both the earth, and the “world”.
He has established the earth on its foundations, It will not be moved from its place forever and ever – Psalm 104:5
A generation is going, and a generation is coming, But the earth remains forever – Ecclesiastes 1:4
The righteous will possess the earth, And they will live forever on it – Psalm 37:29
It is undeniable that human activity has greatly harmed the natural habitat of many of the creatures we share this planet with. It is distressing to see how much harm man-made products, and by-products of the manufacturing process, are causing. The scale of the damage of commercial activity may well have already changed aspects of our climate to our own detriment. I believe that due to short-sighted decisions in the greedy pursuit of profit, mankind is truly at risk of threatening our home. The scriptures refer to humans having the capacity to “ruin” the earth.
We thank you, God, the Almighty, the one who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and begun ruling as king. But the nations became wrathful, and your own wrath came, and the appointed time came … to bring to ruin those ruining the earth. – Revelation 11:17,18
The earth will remain the home of humans. Our Creator took great care to design and create a stunning home for humans and billions of other creatures. He assigned the first humans a special responsibility. They were to take care of it. Does that need a complicated explanation? I hope not.
If humans needed guidance on how to take care of the earth they would have plenty available. Their Creator would provide loving guidance for them. Planet earth was to be a permanent home for the human family.
The first major disturbance in human history was when the first two humans listened to a spirit creature (a creature that was not made of matter) who claimed that their Creator’s guidance was not really in their best interests. The goodness of our Creator’s rulership was challenged. This spirit creature accused our Creator of lying and withholding good from his intelligent creatures. He insinuated that humans would be better off ruling themselves, independent of the guidance of their Creator.
Our Creator chose to allow this issue to be settled. He determined a limited period of time in which humans would be allowed to rule themselves. He also foretold the results of human rulership – a great deal of damage. He promised that He would establish a rulership that would undo all of the harm done by human independence from his guidance. Billions have prayed “..let your Kingdom come, let your will be done on earth…” – Matthew 6:10.
Just because lots of damage has been caused, our Creator has not given up on his purpose for our planet home.
The world is passing away – 1 John 2:17
What is it that is going to pass away, or go, when our Creator brings an end to the damage that has been done on this earth? There are certain institutions or aspects of the way mankind is organized today that many consider permanent features of life in this world. It is some of those features that make up the world of harmful human activity that will be removed. They can be summarised as follows: wicked people who seek their own interests, corrupt organizations, no matter how powerful and permanent they may seem, grossly wrong activities, and distressing conditions. These make up the “world” that is going. They will not be a part of life on earth in the future. They have been part of the results of human self-rule, independent from our Creator. They will soon be gone forever. But that is absolutely marvellous!
There will be a lot of work to do. Under the guidance of their Creator, humans will work to clean up this earth and care for it as was originally intended. Do you think you would enjoy taking part in the big clean up? I can’t wait. Especially as the resurrection of those who have died can only begin when the earth has been cleaned up sufficiently, so that our loved ones are not waking up to a polluted disaster zone!
What follows is described beautifully in the scriptures with expressions like these:
Just a little while longer, and the wicked will be no more; You will look at where they were, And they will not be there. But the meek will possess the earth, And they will find exquisite delight in the abundance of peace. – Psalm 37:10,11
They will not cause any harm Or any ruin in all my holy mountain, Because the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of God As the waters cover the sea. – Isaiah 11:9
And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away. – Revelation 21:4
The scriptures candidly forecast that before this “world” is gone, the awful consequences of human independence will become more intense and disturbing events more frequent. Indeed the scriptures compare them to the pangs of distress of a pregnant woman. Those awful scenes we see on the news are symptoms of how much damage human independence has caused. Even the most noble of rulers cannot resolve the issues that face mankind today. So much damage has been done. So much harm. Our Creator is longing to clean up this earth and undo all of the damage that has been done.
How exactly will this world end? It’s all there in the scriptures, including a detailed description of the major world events that will occur between now…and then.
Will stricter laws make a better world? Would less strict law make it better?
I don’t know if you would agree, but to many, it seems laws are perceived as prohibitions and penalties for those who disregard such.
I know there has been a lot of discussion on gun laws this week, not for the first time. I am in little old England, and I must admit I am grateful for the very restrictive laws here on guns. Does it make England a better place? A safer place? It makes violence with guns less common to be sure. But back in 2017, England was the scene of several terrorist attacks that featured the use of explosive devices, vehicles used as weapons and knives. Hatred and anger are still rife despite the stricter gun laws in this country. Right now, governments have to try their best to provide some kind of stability despite the absurd challenges we face today. For the most part, they do try to protect citizens from violent criminals with trained police and a justice system. We can be glad of those provisions.
What concerns me, is that many do not seem to be educated to think in terms of the principles on which laws are based. Parents primarily, and teachers, have a golden opportunity to cultivate love and respect in the hearts of children.
But there are too many people who seem to lack the ability to show unselfish love and respect for life and for others. Their outlook on life seems warped. It is quite frightening that so many are allowed to become so isolated, so radical, so dangerous in their thinking and view themselves as above law. Maybe I am thinking of sociopaths, I don’t know. But I am not surprised that situations crop up from time to time when an eeeeed-yat has done something obnoxious, and we have to have yet another law established to say that is wrong – I am still baffled about “upskirting” – the use of cameras on mobile devices to take a photograph of a woman. It’s ineffective to just keep adding to laws, or make them stricter, if you don’t get to people’s minds first and educate them, right from the start.
I don’t think I am making a great job of answering this question, but when the greatest man who ever lived was on earth, he got straight to the point. He did not add numerous prohibitory laws, or even comment on making laws stricter, or penalties harsher. He got right to the root of issues. He was not drawn into the politics of the day. He drew attention to the government our Creator has promised, that will provide the best education system. Humans have extraordinary potential, but life will only really be peaceable and good under the guidance of our loving Creator. It’s no wonder Jesus remarked:
‘…you must love your [Creator] with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind and with your whole strength.’
‘You must love your neighbour as yourself.’
There is no other commandment greater than these – Mark 12:30,31
If death is inevitable, why bother doing anything?
Has death always been inevitable for humans? No. The first humans had the prospect of living forever along with all of their offspring.
Since Adam and Eve rejected their Creator’s guidance, humans have been subjected to death. It has been unavoidable. However, death was not a part of our Creator’s purpose for humans. And as soon as Adam and Eve rejected His guidance, He immediately stated how He would make provision for those who did want to live under their Creator’s guidance to be freed from death, sickness, old age and all other consequences of independence.
[God] will swallow up death forever — Isaiah 25:8
The gift God gives is everlasting life — Romans 6:23
When distressing things happen, naturally it effects us. It should! If somebody is not concerned about the evil that goes on in this world, there is something very wrong with them. Most of us feel the horror of acts of violence and terrorism.
When bad things happen, when we feel a sense of doom, we may be inclined to think to ourselves “what’s the point?” Frankly the conditions in this world are depressing, distressing and disturbing. For some people the answer is to follow the Epicurean philosophy, whilst being a good person, to immerse themselves in all the pleasures life has to offer. We need to be balanced. There is so much in life to enjoy. Our Creator wants us to enjoy life, and can help us to make the most out of life even now. But life now, in a world where there is so much evil, will never be as satisfying as what our Creator has in mind for us.
Those alive right now have a unique prospect ahead of them. Never dying at all. When our Creator brings an end to the “world”, as discussed above, He will at the same time protect people who love goodness and want to live under His guidance.
As mentioned earlier, there will be a huge task ahead. Cleaning up this earth, making it a suitable home where it’s creatures thrive. That will take time. But what an amazing assignment. Especially when everyone is working towards the same goal, nobody thinking of what they can do to cause damage in order to gain profit. I mean when you think about the way the world works now – it is absolutely ridiculous isn’t it! It is unbelievably preposterous that some humans as individuals, or organizations, have been blatantly causing so much damage, and living in unabashed luxury as a result.
A clean earth! Pure water and fresh air. A healthy happy population of humans. Wildlife and forests thriving. Paradise!!! It gives me tingles just thinking about it.
And then…one of the most thrilling stages in human history will begin. The resurrection of those who have died because of Adam’s choice.
Are thoughts and prayers useful or a sop for people who wish to pay respect but interact through a virtual venue? Yea or nay – please explain your viewpoint (without rancor) if you would.
Forgive me Melanie, but I don’t quite understand this question. I may have completely missed the thought behind the question. I just looked at some quotes on line and found many found it laughable that some would think sympathetic thoughts and words to convey their pity, but not actually do anything to help someone. Of course action is louder that thoughts and words! But some may feel it is not in their power to make any difference. Of course, we should seize any opportunity we have to help others who are suffering the awful consequences of this “world”, that tries to operate without the loving guidance of our Creator.
I don’t see any objection in anybody expressing their well wishes and their sympathy for anyone else who is suffering under the distressing conditions that exist in this “world”. I am guessing that a “virtual venue” is relating to expressing one’s compassionate concern through the internet or social media. It is never a bad thing to express how heart-broken you are about what is absolutely heart-breaking. As far as I am concerned, if someone tells me that they are praying for me, they are telling me they care. What on earth they are specifically praying I try not to ask, as usually it turns out their prayers are not actually in harmony with what our Creator has promised.
Of course, we may feel deeply for those who have lost loved ones, especially in an appalling act of violence. It is completely normal to be sensitive to the suffering of others. So I cannot see any reason to discourage expressions of empathy. It’s worth remembering that when someone is in the grip of anguish or grief, nothing you might say might seem to make any difference. They may even become bitter and provoked by the futility of others trying to offer comfort. But later, later, when time has passed, victims of tragic events may look back and appreciate that people did try to help.
But the expressions of some may seem rather empty. On 11th September 2001, the world was shocked by, I think it is fair to say, the worst terrorist attack in modern history. Now for some reason I chose to watch the news coverage on CNN rather than the BBC, the channel I would normally watch for news bulletins. Most of us have those images scarred on our minds, and it still seems unbelievable that individuals could express such hatred and commit such an evil act.
However, I remember a news broadcaster interviewing some cleric. I don’t know who he was, but I remember him sitting there with a dog-collar on. The news anchor said to him that there will be parents whose children will be asking them “why?” She asked this religious leader how can parents help their children understand why this evil has happened? This chap replied that there was no real answer to that question, and that it is pointless asking why? He encouraged parents to light a candle and let that be a symbol of hope.
Well, I was dismayed. How could he say there is no point asking why? How could he say there is no answer? What possible good would a candle do? I thought about that for a long time afterwards. Many religious folk have hardly any idea what our Creator has in mind for this earth. It seems some think it is a testing ground. Many religious teachers steer the thoughts of their congregations to an afterlife in another realm all together.
They completely pass over all of the wonderful promises for this earth, the wonderful home that our Creator designed for humans. And they fail to drawer attention to the only real solution to mankind’s problems, “God’s Kingdom” will do the following:
- educate people to live a life guided by love for their Creator and their fellowman
- undo all the damage that has been done by millenniums of human rule
- oversee humans as they work to restore this earth to the paradise our Creator intended it to be
- bring back to life all those who have lost the precious gift of life because of the first humans decision to reject their Creator’s guidance
There will come a day when nobody will question “what is the point?” of life. When we wake up full of energy and eagerness for what the day holds. When we are completely secure and at peace because the whole earth and it’s population are thriving. When we struggle to even remember how awful the conditions were when humans thought they could rule themselves. Under the loving guidance of our Creator – life will be better than any of us can imagine!
We may be disturbed by what is happening in this world. We may long for the end of evil and corruption. But actions speak louder than words. We should live in a way that shows we view life as a precious gift, that we care for our beautiful planet home and all of it’s creatures, and that we love our Creator and our fellow humans. Indeed, we should live in harmony with our prayers, “let your kingdom come, let your will be done on earth.”
I was ashamed of myself when that cyclist I mentioned at the beginning of this post asked me “what is this world coming to?”. I said nothing. But those who stand in the pulpits and offer empty meaningless thoughts, words and prayers that are not in harmony with what our Creator has recorded in His word, ought to be deeply ashamed of themselves. Ultimately, they should be very well aware, that corrupt organizations that mislead people and misrepresent our Creator, will be amongst the first parts of this “world” that will go.