Friday, April 14, 2017

More Honesty

People keep telling me they appreciate the honesty of my posts, so I suppose I’ll keep on in that same vein. I get the sense that everyone thinks I should be angry with God, judging by how many people have told me it’s okay to be angry. And I totally agree with that—God can certainly handle all of our emotions—yours and mine. He gave them to us and He sent His own Son to be fully human and have all of our same human emotions and struggles. But I’m really not angry. I have struggled with why God seems to have chosen not to heal our son, when I know He has the power to. While I do believe miracles still happen, I’ve never seen one as dramatic as it would be for David’s head to suddenly be made whole. I’ve been studying the Gospel of John this year through Bible Study Fellowship, and the earlier lessons on miracles were difficult for me. Why did Jesus heal some but not others? Why did Jesus send His disciples into the storm on the Sea of Galilee? When we studied the resurrection of Lazarus, and everyone talked about how Jesus wept, even though He knew He would raise Lazarus from the dead, I wanted to cry that no one is going to raise my baby from the dead! We will weep and mourn and death will sting.

As always, wiser Christians than me have dealt with these issues. The truth that Jesus is more concerned for our eternal life than our temporal life has hit home with me. The promises of healing that we try to apply to these earthly lives ring hollow—but our eternal healing is promised through the blood of Jesus. Is it hard to understand? Yes. But it is what I believe to be true…even if it is not the way I feel.

On Palm Sunday, the crowd rejoiced because their King was coming. But as it turns out, He wasn’t the King they wanted. They wanted the victor, the champion, the warrior king who would rescue them from oppression and provide for all their earthly needs.

Jesus didn’t give them what they wanted, because He knew what we really needed. I’ve often heard that phrase, “Jesus doesn’t give us what we want; He gives us what we need.” I’ve never really liked it much. I’d rather have what I want, wouldn’t you? But if Jesus had given in to the crowd and given them what they wanted, we would never have been able to come home to our Father and escape our rebellion. So instead of what we wanted, He gave us what we needed: the Suffering Servant. Who at the end of time will return as the Victor, riding a white horse, the Lamb who was slain.

P.S. I read this essay by Michael Gerson last night:
The Hope of Pardon and Peace
I found the closing paragraphs especially poignant: "For believers, the complete story of Good Friday and Easter legitimizes both despair and faith. Nearly every life features less-than-good Fridays. We grow tired of our own company and travel a descending path of depression. We experience lonely pain, unearned suffering or stinging injustice. We are rejected or betrayed by a friend. And then there are the unspeakable things — the death of a child, the diagnosis of an aggressive cancer, the steady advance of a disease that will take our minds and dignity. We look into the abyss of self-murder. And given the example of Christ, we are permitted to feel God-forsaken.

And yet . . . eventually . . . or so we trust . . . or so we try to trust: God is forever on the side of those who suffer. God is forever on the side of life. God is forever on the side of hope.

If the resurrection is real, death’s hold is broken. There is a truth and human existence that cannot be contained in a tomb. It is possible to live lightly, even in the face of death — not by becoming hard and strong, but through a confident perseverance. Because cynicism is the failure of patience. Because Good Friday does not have the final word."

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