“Welcome to the world, MJ!”
Those were some of your mother’s first words to you when she first held you in her arms. We stared at you, half-delirious from staying up all night, in awe that you would be given to us. In those moments, joy and responsibility compounded. I realized I was a father.
I want you to know that this world is wonderful place. You will slowly come awake to the world around you, and you will discover magnificent things. Here there is potential for friendships so precious that your heart aches with love. Here you will be paralyzed by beauty because you fear you will lose that phantom sense of wonder if you move. Here you will experience the joy of self-forgetfulness as you play sports, or read a book, or stare at a night sky. There is adventure to be had here, mysteries to explore here – we have a beautiful Creator, and this world is a beautiful creation.
As you wake up to the beauty of this world, you will experience a parallel reality: this world is broken. Soon, you are going to feel the sting of sin and the pain of the curse. You are going to get hurt here, MJ. Pain will be an unwanted escort during your pilgrimage on earth. This world is full of sorrow, shame, and deception – and although I am going to do my best to protect you from the jagged teeth of this cursed world, I know that you will feel its bite.
There is an even more distressing facet of the brokenness of the world: you are broken, too. Soon, the seed of rebellion planted in your nature will bloom into a dark rose of twisted motivations, attitudes, and actions. You see, all of us are born slaves to sin. You have been born into a race of rebels. You have inherited a nature bent on rebellion against the God who created you and gave you to your mother and I. You will not only feel the effects of this curse on yourself, you will spread its effects to others – whether you like it or not. Defiance is your native tongue, a language as old as Adam.
You might be fearful as you hear about this cursed world, and your sinful nature. But there’s hope on the far horizon. You see, although this world is broken, it will be restored. This world is pregnant with hope, and the suffering you see in nature and in yourself are the labor pains. Although this world is stained with brokenness, our rebellion has been met with redemption. God has started a rescue plan to recreate this world, and to recreate people. The plan has already started.
MJ, this world will be made new, and you can be made new with it. This newness comes through death and resurrection. As you see yourself as part of the rebellion, you must surrender – yourself, your rights, your very life. You must die. But as you die, you will be reborn. The very God who made this world and you, gave his Son over to death for you so that you can rise to new life.
This world is a mist that is quickly fading. Many will tell you in the years to come that this is all that there is, and so you should take on their identity and sing their anthem. But there is a country that is coming that has an eternal foundation, and whose citizens live forever. I’m praying its anthem drowns our all songs but it’s own.
I love you, MJ. My prayer is that your life is full, and your heart is made new. I’m praying we will sing the song of the better country together – forever.