Living in a Broken World (Leviticus 13—14)

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Early one recent Monday morning I took my wife to the Linksfield Hospital for some x-rays. While she was having various procedures I waited in the coffee shop, pulled out my laptop and began to work on this sermon.

It had occurred to me on the way to the hospital that the fundamental message of Leviticus 13—14 is that we live in a broken world—a very broken world. We live in a world in which we are daily confronted with the human dilemma of disease, decay, despair and death. I sat down to type out some preliminary thoughts about this reality.

As I typed I became acutely aware that I was sitting, quite literally, in the centre of the human dilemma. I was in a hospital, a place of both brokenness and hopefulness. I was reminded again about how sin has brought such sadness and how the Saviour has brought such hope.

As I typed I became very aware of my surroundings. I wondered if the woman at the table next to mine was waiting for a report from a biopsy, or if perhaps a loved one was at that very moment undergoing some major surgery. I saw one particular older lady shuffling with the help of a walker and contemplated the human dilemma of aging. I watched a young woman in her mid-to-late twenties being held by a man as she cried and thought about the possibility that a friend or loved one had—someone close to her heart—just been brought to the trauma unit, or had perhaps been snatched by the enemy of death. My heart was saddened to realise afresh that we live in a broken world.

But there was another aspect that was also present: hope.

As I sat working I could not but help to overhear a hefty and jovial man a few tables away. As he spoke with two others at his table I heard his thick Southern United States accent, and my immediate suspicion was that he was a missionary. (Many missionaries who serve throughout Africa come to Johannesburg for treatment and many come to the Linksfield.) Sure enough, it was not long before I overhead him mention the words “church” and “Christian School,” and my suspicions were clinched when he spoke of his “furlough.”

I have no idea why he was there. Perhaps his wife, child or some colleague was receiving treatment. Perhaps he himself was in need of medical attention. However two things stood out to me. The first was the sense of joy in his tone. But second, I was also struck by the observation that, when he left the coffee shop, he did so using a cane. Though he apparently was a servant of the Lord he still experienced brokenness. I could not escape the thought that here was a man who was broken in body and yet joyful.

Brokenness is a fact of life, even for those who love the Lord. How will we handle the reality of brokenness? Like the missionary in the coffee shop, may we face the human dilemma joyfully.

Brokenness is Inescapable

In reading about a dozen commentaries on Leviticus 13—14 I discovered that there is some difference of opinion as to whether or not leprosy was a picture of sin. I personally think it was (see, for example, Isaiah 1:6; cf. Jeremiah 30:12-15). But there is no disagreement that these leprosies indicate that we live in a broken world; a world filled with disease, decay, death and thus, for many, despair. The human dilemma is inescapable. It is a condition of our existence that everyone faces, in some shape or form, as we journey through this world.

Yes, God’s revealed rules for dealing with leprosy illustrate for us, in order to instruct us, that we live in a broken world. In fact, it is so broken that even clothes (13:47-59) and brick and mortar (14:33-57) are affected. In other words, brokenness is so pervasive that it is inescapable.

Leprosy, and the laws with reference to it, was designed by God to teach us that things are not as they should be. There should not be disease, defilement, decay, destruction, division, despair and death. And yet I must add that the revelation from God about leprosy was also intended to teach that things are also not what one day they will be. Ultimately, of course, the full story of this revelation is that God plans to fix it. One day, there will be health and purity and development and glory and harmony and life. One day hospital coffee shops will be no more.

As we learned previously, leprosy was a generic term, which covered a wide range of illnesses related to skin, garments and, as chapter 14 reveals, buildings. It seems clear from the text that the concern when it came to diagnosing leprosy was any indication pointing to that which was destructive and corrosive; to that which was corrupting—contagiously so.

I suppose that, as we continue our journey through Leviticus, my mind might change, but for now I would conclude that there was probably no other condition or experience that so powerfully drove home the point that the world is broken than the condition of leprosy. As we saw previously, if one was diagnosed with leprosy they immediately became an outcast in society. They were condemned to a living death. They were cut off from their normal family relationships (though doubtless the family would probably care for their needs such as food and clothing), and worst of all, from the tabernacle. They could worship God in their hearts outside the camp, but they could not enjoy the blessing of the fullness of God’s presence. In fact, as outcasts, they were unable to offer sacrifices for their sins. Over time, the weight of their sin and the burden of their guilt would increase, but all they could do was to look listlessly towards the tabernacle while knowing that they were cut off from access to it. Cut off from access to the means of forgiveness: Is there a worse condition in which to be? In a sense, they were, in the words of Paul, “strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).

I would imagine that the surrounding nations would have looked askance at this practice and perhaps would have interpreted the inspection (diagnosis) and the isolation (outside the camp) as harsh and unloving. Perhaps upon hearing that it was Yahweh who prescribed this, the surrounding community was less than impressed with such a punctilious God. I can imagine that blasphemous epithets attacking God’s character were thrown about; much like those one hears today from the pens and lips of vociferously militant atheists: “What a hard, arrogant, mean-spirited God,” and the like. After all, disease was a fact of life, so why make such a big deal about it? Was the patient not hurting enough as it was?

What most did not realise then, and what the majority still do not appreciate today, is that God’s prescriptions for His people were a means of blessing to the very people that criticised His ways. By such hygienic rules surrounding peoples were protected from infection.

It is an interesting fact of history that the nation of Israel is the only known case of an ancient people that practiced the quarantining of those who were considered a health threat to the larger community. And, of course, it was God who made them different. They needed this constant reminder that they were different indeed (11:44-45).

To summarise, the children of Israel were taught by God that they lived in a broken world. They were taught to face the world realistically. And if their neighbours paid attention, they too could learn both the seriousness of the ultimate human dilemma (separation from God) and God’s means for deliverance from it.

Let us learn that Christianity is real. It is therefore relevant. It faces life as it is with confident hope of how one day it will be.

The human dilemma is one of brokenness. This world is terribly broken and the Christian needs to be equipped to embrace this reality. Brokenness is inescapable. The believer must embrace this, but he must also embrace brokenness with hope. Of course, I am not speaking of a glib, Pollyanna approach to life. There are far too many churches today that approach brokenness with a superficial (because false) triumphalism when dealing with the evils of the world. Contrary to the bestselling nonsense, every day is not a Friday.1 And I am one who passionately hopes and prays that neither my life nor yours is your best life now.2 God forbid that!

We, in a profoundly broken, way are all spiritual lepers—whether you are a follower of Christ or not. If you die in your sins then your best life is indeed now; but if you are a forgiven sinner through the death burial and resurrection of Christ then, thanks be to God, your worst life is now!

I have a particular burden of the Word of the Lord when it comes to Leviticus 13—14. This passage has spoken to me in profoundly personal and pastoral ways. We are broken people living in a broken world and we need help. All of us—every one of us. That includes you.

I suppose that if I had to choose my favourite pop musician I would vote for Jackson Browne. In an interview several years ago he was speaking about why he writes and sings. A part of his answer was that since life is so painful he views music as a way to help people on their journey. He said, “Life is painful, you know? And the only way through it is through it.” That shows some insight, but sadly not enough. After all, how does one actually get “through it”? And when one does get “through it,” what do they find on the other side?

In The Center Cannot Hold,3 Elyn Sacks speaks of her struggle to overcome various mental illnesses. She battled for a long time, but eventually managed to rise above her circumstances and today serves as a professor at the prestigious University of Southern California Gould School of Law. As I read the book recently, I was saddened to note that, while she has managed to a degree to rise above her circumstances, there is no mention of Christ in her writing. And so, while she has accomplished much in human terms, I have to wonder where she has really ended having gone “through it.”

By stark contrast, I consider Joni Eareckson Tada’s A Place of Healing,4 in which she speaks of her life since she was paralysed in a diving accident. She lives in incredible pain, but she has long since stopped asking God to heal her and has started striving to glorify Him in her adversity.

Without doubt, my favourite Christian musician is Steven Curtis Chapman. He writes with a theological depth and personal honesty that resonates with my soul. But almost nothing that he has written compares with his album, “Beauty Will Rise.”

On 21 May 2008, Chapman’s teenage son, through no fault of his own, struck and killed his five-year-old with a motor vehicle. He was pulling into was pulling into the driveway of their home when the little girl ran in front of the car. Unable to stop in time, he hit her. She was taken to the hospital where she died a short while later.

Chapman went through such a dark night of the soul that he thought he would never sing and perform again. But God graciously gave him a measure of healing, and over a several month period he began to write of his experience of faith in the face of his very broken world. He composed about a dozen songs, which honestly reflect and face the reality of believers facing heart-shattering brokenness. In a review of this album, Christianity Today wrote, “Battered and broken as he may be, Chapman makes it clear his faith is winning the battle.”5

The album is honest, to the point of filling your eyes with tears. At the end of the review Christianity Today offers the following caveat, “All in all, it’s a graphic tribute of amazing depth, a privileged glimpse into the veteran singer’s heavy heart. Moments of hope shine bright, but fans reluctant to enter into a father’s anguish should think twice before they buy.”6 I would, however, disagree and say, don’t think twice; it is honest; it is where so many of us live and it points us to what all of us need: a saving relationship with the triune God.

It saddens me deeply when I sometimes leave Sunday worship with a sense of doing an incomplete job of expounding the Scriptures and a sense that I was not of more help than I could have been. I know that our church is a broken people and that some feel the acuteness of brokenness more than others on any given Sunday. I therefore want to be a help and to honestly apply the “balm of Gilead.” But it equally saddens me when people sit in the church service oblivious that they have a problem; oblivious that they are broken. They make this known by ignoring the Word as it is expounded.

The sad thing is that others can usually see the brokenness, while the broken one seems completely unaware of his condition. If you pretend that you are not broken then you have absolutely no hope of being fixed. I believe that the laws of leprosy were revealed for this very reason: to overcome blindness about one’s spiritual brokenness.

For the Hebrews to truly appreciate how far they were from the way that things could be and should be, and in order for them to be motivated to long for the fix, it was first necessary for God’s people to appreciate just how far they were from the glory of God.

They may have been aware that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), but of course it was doubtful that they realised just how far they had fallen. In fact, it was probably the case that they had simply assumed that brokenness was normal. Perhaps they assumed that brokenness was how things were meant to be. God, however, used His law to teach them to reject such a worldview. He used a painful prescription to help them to long for glory. He used the law to prepare them for the gospel.

These chapters in Leviticus need to be rediscovered by the church. I am well aware of the sentiment of some (perhaps of the majority) in the church that we need to move on to New Testament exposition because we live under grace and no longer under law. I reply with the words of Joseph Parker: “It would be pleasant to turn over the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters, and to escape to subjects less revolting; but pleasure is not the law of life.”7 Thank God for the pleasures of life, but these are most usually preceded by the pains of life.

The truth remains that we appreciate grace a lot more against the backdrop of law. And the law of leprosy is such a means of exalting God’s grace.

My father-in-law, who has preached for half a century, recently asked my wife to send him the website links for my audio sermons on Leviticus. After 50 years of preaching, he said, Leviticus is his favourite book in the Bible. I suspect that the more you mature, the further backward in your Bible you may find yourself going!

There are, of course, various ways in which we encounter the human dilemma, whether in teenage acne, middle-age collapse or an increasingly medicated old age. We encounter it as we receive the phone call that a friend or loved one has died. We encounter it as we try and counsel a friend who is struggling with discouragement to the point of depression. Our children encounter it on the playground (even at church!) when they are bullied. We encounter it as our family faces financial challenges brought on by inflation and high unemployment. We encounter it as we drive down the road and pass shacks that others call their homes. We see the human dilemma as we watch the McDonalds bag thrown from the window of the car in front of us adding to an already littered landscape. We experience it as we wake in the morning and have to shake off the lethargy that calls us to stay in bed for another ten minute snooze. We experience it even in church as we are wounded by thoughtless words and as we discipline the unrepentant. And, yes, others experience the human dilemma at our own hands as all-too-often we contribute our fair share (and more?) to an already broken world.

If you live (I almost said “long enough”), then you will experience the human dilemma. You see, even a newborn baby experiences it in hunger, nappy rash and missing her grandpa! Yes, we come into this world already tainted with sin and facing the consequences that attend original sin. Yes, heartache of heartaches, babies die. Terrible conditions like anencephaly8 remind us frequently of the broken world in which we live.

It is important for us to keep before us that these chapters describing the diagnostic indicators of leprous (infectious, contagious) skin diseases were revealed by God in the middle of His worship manual, given to His recently redeemed people.

As the book opens the tabernacle had been constructed, but the priests were on the outside. It was constructed but not functional. After God prescribed the required sacrifices for atonement and for fellowship (chapters 1—7) He ordained the priesthood (chapters 8—10). The house of God was now open to receive worshippers.

But if the people would worship God truly then they must do so fully. That is, they must worship Him in all of life. As we have seen, God, through His law, is equipped them with a Yahweh-centred worldview. They desperately needed this (see Ezekiel 20:5-12).

And so, in chapters 11—15, God revealed the “cleanliness code,” in which He taught His people that they must be holy because He is holy. If they will be worshippers at the tabernacle, they also must be worshippers in the kitchen, in the maternity ward, and the medical ward. They must worship Him in the midst of brokenness. This required that they have a correct view of their own spiritual brokenness.

Calvin argued in his Institutes that the knowledge of oneself is essential to a healthy knowledge God. The knowledge of our sinfulness will drive us to know the One who can forgive and transform us. This, of course, was the purpose of God’s law (Galatians 3:19-24). God, particularly through these Levitical laws, was driving into the psyche of His people that they lived in a broken world, and the only way for them to fruitfully live was by obeying Him. These laws were a precursor to and a preparatory means for the gospel. We will never truly seek to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength until we confess and feel our brokenness. Acknowledging our brokenness is one thing; being broken by our brokenness is quite another.

As a church we have often experienced the inescapability of brokenness. This week has been a case in point.

It has been a week of leprosy on several fronts. Sickness has abounded and some has been of a very serious nature. But all of it is ultimately out of our control. Yes, we can wash our hands and keep our distance (which is wise and recommended), but at the end of the day God is sovereign. And if He chooses to let a mosquito, which has just come back from a holiday on the Western Nile, bite us, there is not much we can do about it. We are in God’s hands and, in His all-wise providence, He allows the human dilemma to scream into our lives.

We noted previously that these leprous conditions were not of a rare type such as Hanson’s Disease but were rather very common occurrences. Their “commonality” was an important pedagogical characteristic, for it would have made every thinking Hebrew aware of the reality of living in a broken world as they reflected on their susceptibility to such illness. They would have had plenty of motivation to think about their dependence upon God. They would have been compelled to think about how things should be, but also about how things could be (see Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28).

This is precisely what we should be contemplating as we live in our broken world. And this is what I want us to focus on as we consider these chapters over our next few studies. May we experience God’s intended blessings as we face up to the reality of living in a broken world.

Brokenness is Not Irrational

As we focus on this matter of brokenness, we should acknowledge that the reality of brokenness in our world is not purposeless.

Someone once said that the surest way to discourage someone is to tell them the truth while leaving God out of the equation. If the reality of brokenness is all that we have then we have every reason to despair. But thanks be to God, the reality of brokenness is undergirded by God’s revelation of the reason for brokenness. God has a plan. He does not greet each day with the hope that He can make a plan to ensure that things turn out okay; instead, each day runs according to His predetermined plan. And His plan, for the time being, is brokenness.

Living in a broken world is inescapable. This is the state of things as they are. But sadly, many live imperceptible of this reality. They live a lie. They whistle in the dark and pretend that all is a wonderland. And so, to help His people to avoid such irrational living, God allowed leprosy to plague the world. He allowed disease to enter and to spread. In fact, more than allowing it He actually sent it (14:34). The God of life is also the God of leprosy. And the sooner the people realised this, the sooner there was hope, and the more intense would be worship. Those afflicted would be in such a state that their only hope was God. They were in a position in which they would be motivated to believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). In other words, there was a method behind the malady. There was a reason behind the suffering.

It has been observed by many that the real problematic philosophical question is not, why all the suffering’ but rather, why is there not more? In other words, the frequently philosophically debated matter of the problem of pain actually misses the point. The real problem is why there is any pleasure and relief. Of course, the answer is, the love of God in Christ Jesus. Hear Paul’s assessment of the situation:

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

(Romans 8:18-30)

If we will take comfort from Romans 8:28-30 then we dare not ignore the previous 27 verses, which teach us that God is not surprised when the leprous sore is found beneath the surface and our hair yellows and the wound will not heal. This is according to His plan. God has quite literally put leprosy into the fibre of His fallen creation. And don’t forget, though it is fallen, the creation still belongs to Him.

God is not taken by surprise when you are betrayed (or when you, in fact, are the one betraying). God is not taken off guard when you lose your job, when the stock market fails, when the biopsy comes back positive or when your child crushes your heart. God has allowed—indeed, ordained—such leprosy in order to get you alone. He wants you to appreciate your condition and the condition of this world.

I have recently been counselling a man from outside our church who has been battling with fear. As I have pointed him to the sovereignty of God, and have given him material to read on God’s sovereignty, he has started to make great strides in overcoming his fears. By his own testimony, it has been reflection on God’s sovereignty that has enabled him to make progress. Hope has come as he has appreciated God’s control over every area of life.

Think with me for a moment about an old covenant leper who was excommunicated, as it were, from the community of Israel. This individual would be in the best position to long for things to be better. He would long for the tabernacle. He would appreciate perhaps better than others the blessing of having access to God. We often appreciate what we have only when we lose it. Do you suppose that this was one reason for Adam and Eve being evicted from the garden? Do you not think that each new day that they remembered what it was like to have been with God in the cool of the day?

In fact, it is helpful to observe that treatment of the leper was a picture of the banishment from the garden. The rabbis listed 61 conditions that defiled a Jew, and leprosy was ranked second behind death. To be a leper was akin to experiencing spiritual death.

But, once a leper was healed, do you not suppose that he would be very careful from that point on to stay clean? Certainly, he would do all he could to avoid being infected again. His previous experience of brokenness would have been an influential schoolmaster.

Brokenness is evidenced by how we respond to further brokenness.

If we do not see that God is purposeful in our brokenness then hope is destroyed as despair rages on. There is a method behind our malady. The Lord is behind our leprosy.

In Brokenness, Don’t Be Irresponsible

We need to be careful both about false, superficial judgements as well as unwise triumphalism. Let me explain.

Malpractice in the Church

Previously, we learned that the priests were quite literally called by God to make judgement calls with reference to what at first appeared to be the presence of the early stages of leprosy. If after examination (sometimes requiring up to two weeks of quarantine) the case was obviously and conclusively one of leprosy, then the priest was to pronounce the patient unclean.

But, as we saw, not all initial suspicions of the presence of leprosy were verified as such. It needs to be noted that though many scholars identify some of these conditions as eczema, psoriasis, etc. those conditions were not considered leprous and therefore contagious. In fact, the text makes it very clear that one could have such a skin diseases and still be pronounced clean.

We learned from this that we need to be careful of making hasty and superficial judgements about people. We need to gather all the facts before pronouncing someone as “in sin” or as “unrepentant.” But there is perhaps a more important issue at stake here: the superficial judgement that someone is broken (physically, relationally, financially, etc.) because they are guilty of some particular sin. Don’t ever forget Job!

Wenham points out “It is not stated anywhere in these laws that these skin diseases were caused by particular sins. Indeed, the fact that inanimate objects like garments and houses could be afflicted evidently rules out such a strict connection between sin and ‘skin diseases.’”9

You would think that believers would have learned this lesson by now, but such foolishness still abounds. Now to be sure, the Bible does teach that we reap what we sow and instructs believers that God chastens His own when we refuse to do what is right (see Hebrews 12:5-11), but the Bible nowhere teaches that all our experiences of brokenness are because there is unconfessed sin in our life.

Again, those who became leprous were not necessarily less hygienic than their healthier neighbours. There is nothing in these chapters that tells us that all leprosy was the result of direct punishment of someone for their personal sin. Yes, Miriam (Numbers 12:9-10); Gehazi (2 Kings 5:27) and King Uzziah (2 Kings 15:1-7) were punished by God with leprosy, but these are exceptions to the norm.

Be careful of a supposed fool proof method of interpreting either favourable or unfavourable providence. Because we are a part of a sin-cursed creation under the judgement of God, we can expect lots of people to suffer. In other words, there is no necessary correlation between cancer and unconfessed sin. Don’t add sorrow upon sorrow to the already broken.

This principle is illustrated in the account of Jesus healing a blind man in John 9. When Jesus and the disciples came upon this man, they immediately asked whether it was him or his parents who had sinned that he was born blind. Jesus told them that his blindness was not the direct result of sin, but that he was born blind in order that God might be glorified in his healing.

Troublesome Triumphalism

Another irresponsible response to the inescapable reality of brokenness is that of false triumphalism. What I mean is the approach that minimises the reality of prolonged brokenness and ignores the very real possibility that it will not be remedied—in this lifetime.

Joni Eareckson Tada has overcome any temptation to bitterness in her struggle. She has learned to rest in the sovereignty of God, knowing that He has a kind purpose in what He has ordained for her.

Both the Bible and history verify that many people not only live with brokenness but they also die with brokenness. In fact, death is the ultimate brokenness.

Matt Chandler in his excellent book, The Explicit Gospel, observes that life is filled with suffering and no more so than with the experience of death. He quotes Paul who wrote in 1 Corinthians 15, “So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ ‘O  Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?’” (vv. 54-55). He then says with refreshing honesty, “I have heard this text used shoddily at funerals. Preachers shout, ‘Where is your sting, O death?’ just inches away from an occupied casket. I always want to shout back, ‘It’s right there! There’s the sting!’” He adds, “Do you see in 1 Corinthians 15 when death loses its sting? Do you see when it’s swallowed up in victory and can no longer create mourning? It is when we put on the imperishable. So at funerals we mourn and we hurt; death stings, and there is real loss. This text rightly used at a funeral should point us to the hope of the day where it won’t sting any longer.”

In other words, people die. Christians get sick and they eventually will not recover. God does not heal every Christian (1 Timothy 6:20). He does not deliver every one of His children from poverty (Lazarus, widows in early church, the early church in Jerusalem, Paul, and Jesus Himself). God does not rescue every faithful believer and that is why there are martyrs (Stephen, James, Peter, etc.). God does not heal every relationship (Paul and Demas). In other words, every day is not a Friday.

I am a postmillennialist by biblical conviction. I believe that there is coming a day in space-time history when the knowledge of the glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. And I believe that there will be peace in this world as we have never experienced it. I believe that cures for diseases will be found and life expectancy will increase (see Isaiah 65). But I also believe that tears will be shed, grandparents will be separated from their grandchildren, families will be divided, and blood will be shed for this to take place. I believe that we might experience much more darkness before the light of the glorious gospel of Christ shines brightly into all four corners of the world. Let us be careful that we never minimise the truth that brokenness is required for a broken world to be fixed. Let us dream big, let us believe fervently, and let us work tirelessly as ambassadors to fix a broken world. But let all of this be underscored with a submissive and humbling, “God willing.”

God has a purpose in brokenness: that we, as broken vessels, might shine forth the glory of God in the Lord Jesus Christ.

We live in a broken world—of that there is no doubt—but, because of Christ, let us thank God that we do not live in a hopeless world.

Show 9 footnotes

  1. Joel Osteen, Every Day a Friday: How to Be Happier 7 Days a Week (Boston: FaithWorks, 2011)
  2. Joel Osteen, Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential (Brentwood: Warner Faith, 2004)
  3. Elyn R. Sacks, The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey through Madness (New York: Hyperion Books, 2007)
  4. Joni Eareckson Tada, A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain and God’s Sovereignty (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2010)
  5. Andrea Bailey Willits, “Steven Curtis Chapman: Beauty Will Rise,”, retrieved 26 August 2012.
  6. Willits, “Steven Curtis Chapman: Beauty Will Rise”
  7. Joseph Parker, The People’s Bible: Discourses Upon Holy Scripture, 27 vols. (London: Hazel, Watson, and Viney, n.d.), 111.
  8. Wikipedia, “Anencephaly,”, retrieved, 26 August 2012.
  9. Gordon J. Wenham, The Book of Leviticus: The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979), 212-13.