June 10, 2020
When the government eased quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila, the first thing I wanted to do was go to Tanay, Rizal, and be surrounded by trees in a forest. I just missed nature so much.
But since I can’t go to the province for now, I decided to enjoy as much of nature as I could glimpse from our condo’s roof-deck. From there, I could enjoy the beautiful landscapes of the metro.
Nature, being God’s creation, is able to effectively point us back to God. Creation is a signpost to God. It reveals and reflects who God is—a mountain may remind us of God’s steadfastness, and the ocean of His vastness.
As we see and experience darkness and injustice around us, what does God’s word tell us about our role in creation?
The book of Genesis tells us that God created us in His own image and likeness. With the privilege of being created in His image and likeness, God entrusted us with a mission.
“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”
This is the reality of God’s original goal for His creation, and it revealed three things to me:
While looking out from our roof-deck, I realized that I was delighting in God’s creation, and it reminded me of the very first story in the Bible—the creation story.
In five days, God created the world and all the plants and animals in it. On the sixth day, He created man and woman and granted them dominion over His other creations. When He was done and satisfied with what He had done, He “saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31).
This verse made me realize that just as we delight in nature, God delights in His creation.
God describes His creation with the words “very good.” This means that creation brings abundant and intense delight to God. The animals and plants and the rest of His creation bring Him full delight!
Because God delights in us, we have the privilege of knowing Him and having a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. As we get to know who He is, we also discover that He wants us to be just like Him.
However, we live in a broken world ruled by sin, and not everything will align to God’s original plan for the world. There will be wickedness, injustice, and corruption because of sin.
When we feel frustrated or grieved by these things, we need to bring ourselves to a place of lamentation before God. It’s a place where we can just cry out and ask Him our questions. At the same time, this place should be a place where we are able to seek God and hear what He has to say about our situation.
The dominion that God has entrusted to us isn’t about having absolute rulership over creation. Rather, it’s about having full responsibility to serve, cultivate, and care for what He has created. He wants us to sustain it so that we may continue to delight and benefit from it as He intends.
But with issues like climate change, I wonder if we’re really doing our part as stewards.
Are we supporting organizations that promote sustainability? Are we doing things as simple as not littering to help care for the environment? The things we do that help care for the environment, whether big or small, are biblical and spiritual acts. They are kingdom acts that God intends for us to do.
However, it’s not only nature that we’re called to care for. The people around us are also God’s creation, and we are called to love one another.
Sadly, we see injustices being committed against our fellow humans.
In these trying times, God wants us to fight for justice and peace. He wants us to fight for people and for His creation.
As His sons and daughters, we are given a weapon to fight for what God intends for all of His creations. That weapon is called goodness.
We fight evil with good. We fight injustice by doing good to others. We fight for God’s creation by being good stewards of the environment. We fight darkness through the power of prayer.
In my conversation with a former Cabinet secretary, my eyes were opened to the reality of the hardships that she faced while serving the country. She spoke about her experiences being maligned, insulted, and falsely accused. What amazed me was that her initial response in the face of these challenges was to run to God in prayer.
Her story made me look back at times when I witnessed injustice. Anger would be my first response.
But the more I immerse myself in stories of injustice, the more my anger turns slowly into grief—the same grief that the former secretary felt when she started crying and lamenting in front of her listeners.
I asked about her thoughts on the phrase, “Hanggang prayer na lang ba talaga tayo?” Her response was very powerful. “It’s not just prayer. It is prayer.”
I realized that she was emphasizing how powerful prayer is. Prayer is one of the weapons that God has entrusted to us, and we cannot belittle it.
Our usual reaction whenever issues arise is to post on our social media to voice out our opinions. As Christians, this should not be. Our initial response should be to lift our voices up to God.
It is through this communication with God that He will reveal what He wants us to do. We should be ready to hear from Him and to obey His instructions. We should be ready to go out and fight for what God delights in.
Since God created everything and has full dominion over us, He is the one who knows how to keep, care for, protect, and preserve His creations.
God knew that sin and corruption would ruin His creation; that is why He sent His Son, Jesus Christ.
Salvation is the ultimate solution to the issues we face in our world. It launches us to kingdom work. It launches us back to our God-given destiny, to the original goal that God had for us when He created us. When we receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, we regain the power that God entrusted to mankind from the beginning.
Amidst all the corruption and sin in our world, let us not forget that God has gifted us with His grace through Jesus. He redeemed us so we may stand up for what is right and just.
In this time of overwhelming darkness, may we not let the injustices of the world overpower the identity that God has given us. May we put to good use the dominion that God has entrusted to us.