Friday, February 15, 2013


Earlier this week, a fourteen year old boy at my oldest son’s school collapsed. He was having a seizure. They called the ambulance. He arrived at the hospital unconscious. A few hours later the doctors discovered that he had a massive stroke. They took him off life support a few days later.

These sorts of things, while heartbreaking, are not uncommon. Worse, you and I are not exempt from them.
Last week a friend of mine had to say goodbye to his father in the hospital. Even though his dad had lived a long, full life, the pain of his loss was no less than what those parents felt as they let go of their fourteen year old son.

“In this life you will have trouble,” Jesus assured us. “But take heart, I have overcome the world.”
Still, life is full of pain. Every single one of us will have to let go of someone we love one day. It will hurt. We will not feel that it’s right, or fair, and in the midst of our suffering God will be standing there beside us, weeping alongside of us.

Yet, when we are in the middle of our suffering, we are in no mood to hear about how God works all things for the good of those who love Him, or about how we should count it all joy as we endure trials of many kinds because we know that the testing of our faith produces perseverance, or about how we should endure suffering as the Lord’s discipline because it reveals to us that He loves us and wants to make us like Jesus.
All we want is our son back, or our father back, or our life back.

These are the hard lessons of life. This is a painful place. Yes, it is also a place of wonder, and of joy, and of laughter, and goodness, but with all of that comes the darkness and the tears and the pain. We cannot escape it.
So, we have to make a choice. We will either go through this life with Jesus, or without Him. We will share our laughter and our joy with Him, and we will lean on Him in the times of sorrow, or we will leave Him out of our lives and live, and suffer, and die alone.

I wish there was another choice. But there is no other choice. The world we live in isn’t the world God intended it to be. He had something so much greater in mind. But that plan was sidetracked – by us, not by Him – and He has been consumed with restoring His creation to its original condition ever since.
It hasn’t been easy either, mind you. The process of separating part of Himself into the form of a human, being formed cell by cell in the womb of a young woman, entering the world as the child of a poor family, being laid into a manger, growing up one year at a time, going to school, burying his earthly father, taking on the family responsibilities, transitioning into the life of a travelling Rabbi, being mocked and misunderstood by his own family, opposed by the leaders of the church in His own name, betrayed by his closest friends, beaten, whipped, tortured, nailed to a Roman cross, hanging in the sky for six hours as the hot sun that he created beat down upon his naked frame, and then the last gasp of ragged breath before tasting the cold darkness of death.

Why? For you, my friend. All for you. All for me. All to bring us closer. Because He would rather die than live without you. Because loves you. He’s sincerely over the moon, head-over-heels, crazy about you. He would do anything – in fact He has already done everything – to fix what we have broken and to set in motion the eventual re-creation of the Universe into what He intended it to be all along.
So, now when someone tells you that enduring a moment of suffering here is to be considered a joy because it brings you nearer to that supremely selfless being of absolute love, hopefully you can understand how it’s even possible. Or, at least trust Him to show you how it’s possible in a quiet moment of reflection when you’re on your knees, in the dark, eyes filled with tears.

“In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words..” (Romans 8:26)

“He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” (Isaiah 53:3)


1 comment:

Josh Lawson said...

Amen. Life is bewildering at times but Christ is our constant. "An ever present help in time of need." Good post, Keith.