Eugene Cho

life is both beautiful and broken

Life is beautiful.

The gift of life and its experiences are truly amazing. And while it would be great to imagine a life and a world where we only experienced beauty and good, we know that reality to simply be false.

Life is broken.

The reality of pain and disappointment is something I don’t have to explain to anybody. We all understand.

But what we often fail to understand is that while God doesn’t necessarily will such pain and tragedy to be a part of our lives, God is with us…even in the broken and perhaps, especially in the broken.

You see, if God is only present in the good, triumphs, victories, highs and blessings of our lives, we’ve all been duped. Seriously duped.

That would be a false gospel. Please, don’t believe in a false gospel.

As a pastor, I’ve often had the front row view of these incredibly hard moments in people’s lives:

sickness, betrayal, isolation, depression, death, cancer, and the list goes on and on.

I think part of the reason why “the broken” is so difficult for us to handle is that we never plan or want to plan for such things. Do we ever plan for disappointment? Pain? Hardship? Brokenness? Do we ever pray for it? In our sense of idealism, fairness, and even faith, we believe that “everything” will be good since the world was “fixed.”

Well, we know that is simply not the case. It’s not the case for the world. It’s not the case for the friend or acquaintance we hear about but we don’t ever want to believe that can be the case for “me.”

Well…

Things don’t always turn out the way we envision in our lives.  We try. We pursue.  We dream.  But we come to realize that we have fallen short in a fallen world. Others have fallen short. We are simply…broken people living in a broken world. And while skeptics and cynics will chomp on the opportunity to deride Christians for our “naivete,”

this is the great hope of the Gospel:

Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?…For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Romans 8:33-39]

For me, there is no silver bullet or magic theological answer. The good news is NOT that God guarantees a life of absolute bliss, blessing, and perfection but that in all seasons of our lives,

God is with us.

And in the big picture of God’s meta-narrative, all things will be restored back unto Himself. Shalom will be fully restored. Beauty will have the final say.

I know I’ve shown this video couple years ago but the song and the video are worth showing and seeing  again. This is entitled “Everything” and I hope that it speaks to someone today…

Know this and live in this truth:

God loves you.

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5 Responses

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Eugene Cho, Tom Bilderback. Tom Bilderback said: life is both beautiful and broken: http://t.co/Q6sRmE6 […]

  2. Sejin says:

    God Emmanuel.

    Such a good video. I’m going to share it to 10 people.

  3. Chris F. says:

    Thanks Eugene … just what I needed to hear today

  4. esther says:

    our pastor spoke a very similar message the past two Sundays…

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One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

Grateful. Still reflecting on the letters that I've received from classmates and students that have come before me and after me. Never imagined all that God would have in store for me. Lots of humbling things but in the midst of them, there were literally thousands upon thousands of daily decisions and choices to be faithful. That's what matters. Seen or unseen. Noticed or unnoticed. You do your best and sometimes you stumble and fumble along but nevertheless, seeking to be faithful.

Also, you know you're getting old when your school honors you with a Distinguished Alumni Award. Lol. 47 is the new 27. Or something like that. Here's to the next 47. In our culture, we can be so obsessed with the "spectacular" or "glamorous." The Church often engagws in thia language and paradigm...but what if God has called many of us to small, ordinary things?

Will we still be faithful?
Will we still go about such things with great love and joy?

I recently came across this picture taken by @mattylew, one of our church staff...and I started tearing up: This is my mother; in her 70s; with realities of some disabilities that make it difficult for her to stand up and sit down...but here she is on her knees and prostate in prayer. She doesn't have any social media accounts, barely knows how to use her smartphone, doesn't have a platform, hasn't written a book, doesn't have any titles in our church, isn't listed as a leader or an expert or a consultant or a guru. But she simply seeks to do her best - by God's grace - to be faithful to God. She prays for hours every day inteceding for our family, our church, and the larger world.

Even if we're not noticed or celebrated or elevated...let's be faithful. Our greatest calling as followers of Christ is to be faithful. Not spectacular. Not glamorous. Not popular. Not relevant. And not even successful in the eyes of the world.

Be faithful. Amen. #notetoself (and maybe helpful for someone else)

At times, we have to say ‘NO’ to good things to say ‘YES’ to the most important things.

We can't do it all.
Pray and choose wisely.
Then invest deeply. May our compassion not just be limited to the West or to those that look like us. Lifting up the people of Iraq, Iran, and Kurdistan in prayer after the 7.3 earthquake - including the many new friends I met on a recent trip to Iraq.

The death toll rises to over 400 and over 7,000 injured in multiple cities and hundreds of villages along the Western border with Iraq.

Lord, in your mercy... We are reminded again and again...that we are Resurrection People living in a Dark Friday world.

It's been a tough, emotional, and painful week - especially as we lament the horrible tragedy of the church shootings at Sutherland Springs. In the midst of this lament, I've been carried by the hope, beauty, and promise of our baptisms last Sunday and the raw and honest testimonies of God's mercy, love, and grace.

Indeed, God is not yet done. May we take heart for Christ has overcome the world. "Without genuine relationships with the poor, we rob them of their dignity and they become mere projects. And God did not intend for anyone to become our projects." Grateful this quote from my book, Overrated, is resonating with so many folks - individuals and  NGOs. / design by @preemptivelove

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