“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness” Isaiah 42:6-7.
Outside the borders of the Magic Kingdom, there is another reality. Millions of people go to bed hungry each night. About 1 billion people are chronically short of food. More than one out of four of the world’s 2 billion children are underweight or stunted. Lack of clean water may be an even worse problem, as 783 million have no access at all. Many struggle with the consequences of ethnic and religious hatreds and violence; the blight of human trafficking; pandemic diseases such as AIDS, cholera, and tuberculosis; the serious effects of climate change; and the staggering problems faced by the world’s 18 million orphaned children.
This is the Tragic Kingdom, and it is much, much larger than the Magic Kingdom.
Are you feeling the heaviness yet? I’m not done. More than one-third of the world’s population lives on less than two dollars a day, and more than three-quarters live on less than ten dollars a day—three-quarters! If you earn an income of forty thousand dollars, you make more money than 99 percent of the people in the world. An income of just thirteen thousand dollars places you in the top 10 percent.
Surely something is very wrong in a world where these tragedies play out daily and with such staggering frequency. And yet this is the same world into which one-half of the world’s children will be born, a heart-breaking world that kills their hopes and dreams.
Most Magic Kingdom Christians don’t know much about the Tragic Kingdom; in fact, they go out of their way to avoid it. That’s because it is terribly unpleasant, and even acknowledging it takes them out of their comfort zones. Back in the days when Haiti was a resort destination, vacationers would be picked up at the airport by the resort’s shuttle bus. The bus windows were blacked out to prevent people from looking out. It was just too disturbing for the guests to see the awful poverty en route to the beach resorts. Most of us who live in the Magic Kingdom have blacked out our windows too.
The world doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, God does not want the world to be this way. There is a different way of living, a different vision of human thriving. Jesus called it the kingdom of God. We’ll talk about that next.
Are you surprised by some of the statistics about the “Tragic Kingdom”? What does this information do to alter your worldview?
Father, thank you for helping me to see the world as it is and not just as I want it to be. Please help me know what to do with this information.