Beware Of Pickpockets
For our honeymoon, my wife and I travelled to Thailand: good food (not the cockroaches mind you), cheap prices (60-minute massage for 10$!), beautiful scenery, and amazing people!
One of the notable tourist attractions in Bangkok was a huge Buddhist temple, Wat Pho. It houses a magnificant reclining Buddha: 46 meters long, 15 meters high, and 5.5 tons of solid gold (you really should google this).
While walking around the statue I noticed a small sign towards the middle of the hall. Now, if we can move beyond the grammatical mistake, that sign is ironic:
Imagine this immense gold statue of what seems to be a powerful god or religious figure who is unable to protect his visitors and worshippers from petty pick pockets. Why would I want to pay tribute to this figure if he can’t protect me?
Isn’t this the problem that religious people face in general? We believe in a powerful almighty god, but then we look around us and see a world gone crazy. We stop and ask, where is this god of ours? If there is a god, then why is there evil in the world?
Some people answer by saying that there is no god. End of story.
Others say that there might be a god, but he has left us alone.
Others wag their fingers and say, well, what you see is not truly evil but it is all part of God’s plan.
I think that humans have corrupted this beautiful world. I think God is working, alongside those who are willing, to restore it.
The earth that Jesus walked was full of war and poverty. His people were oppressed by the Romans, his family were poor, and he himself eventually was unjustly murdered on a cross. He probably thought about this problem of evil quiet a lot.
He once told this story to the crowds:
There was a widow who had no one to protect her. A man was denying her her rights. She went to the judge of the town. Now it happened that this judge was unjust. She did not have any money to pay him off. So, she went to his door every morning, noon, and evening, knocking and demanding that he uphold justice!
One day, the unjust judge grew tired of her constant nagging. To shut her up he ordered that she regains her rights and receives protection from her oppressors.
Jesus then turns to the listening crowds and asks them: If this unjust judge listened to the cries of the widow, how much more does your father in heaven, who is just, listen to the cries of the oppressed? He then added that one day he will return to bring about justice. But, Jesus added sadly, will anyone be waiting? Will there be any faithful left?
Are we alone or is there a god doing something in this world? Are you facing injustice?
Could it be that God listens and sees the injustice? Could it be that he is fighting it? Wouldn’t it be amazing to join him?
What is your answer to the problem of evil? Should we beware of pickpockets?