My daughters are watching their first Olympics, and this weekend – as we watched figure skating (their favorite), snowboarding and ski jumping – it was beautiful. Of course, the best part was slowing down and having my two girls sitting beside me. But there was also an unfolding beauty of what played out before us on the screen that gave hints of what could be in this world.
Glimpses began to shine through during the opening ceremony as our family took turns identifying each nation’s delegation that made its loop into the stadium. We talked about how God loves us all, and how that except for the gaudy welding gloves and excessive number of selfies, America was like all the others. As a united Korean delegation walked in, I told my girls how their grandfather fought in the Korean War, but I wondered in my head why that war was even necessary. If the Koreans could field Olympic sports teams together then why can’t they just live in harmony?
As we watched an Israeli couple figure skate, I told my daughters how this was the Israel we read about in their Bible and how God had a special love for the Jews. Then I watched this amazing piece of irony as the Israelis were followed by Germans. I shared that moment with my wife, who then required me to provide a discourse to my daughters on the Holocaust. But as we continued to watch, we saw the two teams pass each other in peace. My oldest said it looked like they had forgiven each other, and I wondered why there couldn’t be peace toward Israel today. That peace was on my mind because I was continuing to scroll on my phone through WND’s newsfeed, following the escalating events in Syria. If Israelis can skate alongside Germans, then why can’t there be peace in the Middle East?
We work hard in our family to promote racial blindness. So, we chuckled as my oldest daughter said, “Her skin is a bit darker,” when the black female skater from France took the ice. And it was an obvious transition from the pale white American before her. This provided another chance for my wife to tell my daughters how we are all the same – no matter the color of our skin. My oldest then told us that she learned in school how in the past people were mean to each other because they had darker skin. And I responded that, unfortunately, that still goes on. Her response: “That’s mean!” And yes, it is. If the skating competition line-up can look like a line out of the children’s song, “Jesus Loves the Little Children,” then why do we continue to have racial conflict? Racism is so silly in view at what is accomplished at the Olympics.
Our family held on to our seats watching the exciting ride to victory of American snowboarder Red Gerard. My youngest kept cheering for the Norwegian and Canadian snowboarder to fall in their runs. I told my daughters that yes, we wanted the American to win (i.e. be great again), but not at the expense of one of the other men getting hurt. I pointed out how even Gerard, himself, seemed to be pulling for each snowboarder, and they all got along like they were one family. Why can’t we all just get along in this world? As I pondered that thought last night, the answer came to me.
Day in and day out there is international conflict in the news – our American news. As I watched South Koreans and North Koreans prance around in harmony like there was not decades of conflict and a huge DMZ in-between them, I kept seeing the words of Trump and Pence reminding us the truth, which is that North Korea still is a mess. Have you seen Yochi Dreazen’s piece from Vox on the catastrophic loss of life that would happen in a war with North Korea? That article provides detail about what I argued in a column months ago. A real war looms.
Although, my heart was torn, seeing what this world could be, I also fully support Israel holding Iran to a hard and fast line. I also think that the U.S. will have to make a pre-emptive strike and complete invasion to disarm Kim Jong-un to protect our nation, if this present trajectory continues. But why do we have to have such wars and conflicts, if we can so easily play in the ice and snow together? Why can’t we just see what I desperately hope my daughters never will forget – we are all the same?
The reason is because of our selfish sin nature. And yes, I understand it’s like I’ve transitioned from international man of intrigue to Sunday School teacher. But this is the truth. It is this root reality that allows a democracy to work longer than other government structures. You see, a democracy is not strong because it recognizes the power of the people. It is strong because it recognizes the weakness of its people. A democracy is more peaceful because of the checks and balances. Governments led by one person fail because that one person’s selfish sin nature shows quicker than when there are multiple checks and balances.
There could be a perfect peaceful utopia on this earth, but it never will be in this age, because there is no perfect, righteous, trustworthy person to lead such an endeavor. There are enough people involved in the leadership of the Olympics that allows for a few days every four years to go off without a hitch, well, most times, but that peace could not last forever unless there were a perfect leader that would not eventually die and leave the need for a messy succession.
All of this points to why there will be a perfect utopia in which all nations will gather in peace for a thousand years in the age to come. It is because there is a perfect ruler – Jesus.