Christ in Pain

Holy Spirit painting

When the chips are down. When the rubber meets the road. When all hell breaks loose, literally. When “things don’t quite turn out.” When your life is wrecked, devastated, turned upside down. When your heart is torn into shreds and fed to the dogs. When the worst thing you could imagine… happens. How is God glorified in that?This is really a re-phrasing of the age-old question: How can a loving God allow death and suffering in His world? And although the answer to that is inestimably crucial, the answer is too much for the scope of this article. If you don’t know the answer, please, please email or comment and let me know, and I will be more than happy to explain it. Knowing this is vital, absolutely critical.

But when I phrase it this way… the question opens itself up to being rephrased again, and to really reaching into the heart of a struggle that I see many Christians battling with. A turmoil I see in the lives of people I love. So… you know who you are… this is for you. * smiles *

When everything is against me. When the world opens up at my feet to swallow me…

How do I glorify God in that?

You see how it’s connected? Think about it. God hates sin. He hates evil. He hates death, suffering, misfortune. He uses it, yes, but He doesn’t like it. It is not a part of His perfection which He wants for us (and which He will give us in heaven).

So how is He glorified in it on Earth? And as Christians, where do we fit into that? We are commanded to glorify Him in everything we do, in every circumstance. And really, if you think about it, what else should we want to do?!

So… how do we do it?

It’s hard.

No… scratch that. It’s not.

It’s impossible.

Really. It is. It is superhuman, supernatural — absolutely completely a miracle.

And that is the key. See, in our own strength we can’t glorify God in circumstances like that. We can’t do anything that would bring Him honor or praise or bless Him in any way. So… we do things we can’t do. Impossible things. It’s really as simple as that.

Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

What is peace?

Look at a glass of water or a still lake. Look at it… placid… smooth… unrippled. Untouched, unbroken. It is at peace.

Drop a pebble in. It breaks, the surface begins going everywhere, reacting to the stone. It is troubled.

God’s peace is this: Doing what is right regardless of circumstances.

Some people say it is freedom from harm. Which isn’t true. The Holy Spirit brings about peace, as well as troubles and harm (unless being stoned and drowned and beheaded and robbed and broken and tormented doesn’t count as harm…). If peace is freedom from harm, then He contradicts Himself. God forbid.

It might be more accurate to say that it is freedom from fear of harm. But even that isn’t true, because fear is not something you can really get rid of. It is a God-given impulse of our flesh, and we can’t rid ourselves of it any more than we can remove our need for water and food. What really matters isn’t being unfearful, but being courageous.

Courage is doing what is right despite being scared.

That is peace. It is choosing not to let circumstances control you. It is not reacting to things that happen to you — but choosing to respond instead. It is not letting your heartbreak determine what is on your heart’s throne. Doing that is impossible.

The pain is there. It will be there.

But that pain isn’t bad. Not if you glorify God in it. Then it becomes a wondrous thing.

When the very thing which is a punishment and consequence of rebellion against God brings glory to God, when imperfection blesses perfection… that is glorifying God.

So in essence, the way you glorify God in trials is simply to do what you would have done if you didn’t have trials. Make sense?

You still love. You still have joy (not necessarily happiness, though). You still serve. You still forgive. You still trust. You still pray. You still draw closer to God. You are still a little Christ, a little light of His.

And the very fact that you are doing all that while being tormented is what brings God ten-fold glory. Because it is impossible.

Now, you might have noticed that I didn’t give any Scripture references in this whole blog post. It quotes from the Bible extensively inline, refers to Scripture constantly, and is built solidly upon multiple studies of several topics, but I didn’t give any references. So, I am curious if any of you have any Scripture quotes which apply to this which you would like to share in the comments. Or even if you don’t want to share them, go ahead anyway. ;)

A comment form is right below, and you can get Scripture here: www.sir-emeth.com/bible

Have at it. :)

Crippled and Blind, yet in a Marching Band

Greetings,

This young man has no eyes, and cannot walk, yet his God-given musical talent is tremendous.

No Legs, No Arms, Big Faith

Greetings,

Nick Vujicic is an amazing example of faith and strength, from whom we can all learn.

Humble Faith

Mark 5:21-34 And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto him: and he was nigh unto the sea.
22 And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet,
23 And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: [I pray thee,] come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.
24 And [Jesus] went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him.
25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,
26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,
27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.
28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.
29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in [her] body that she was healed of that plague.
30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?
31 And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?
32 And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.
33 But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.
34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

This is an interesting story, and one that begs a lot of questions. I will not presume to be able to answer them all definitively. I will not even try to mention all of the ones that I see. I have found that maintaining focus is more important than attempting a wide scope. In other words, quality is more valuable than quantity (in tribute to the Rebelution forums). I will thus deliberate on one aspect of this story: the woman’s faith.

The woman had a problem, and it was a serious one. She was condemned to uncleanness and shunned by all but her closest family. And even these, after twelve long years of sorrow and inconvenience, must have tired of her illness. She was desperate, and felt that nothing was as valuable as her liberty. Nothing in her life was as precious to her as the freedom from her bondage that she sought so frantically. She sacrificed everything she had to every hope that came to her, but nothing availed to cleanse her.

All that happened was the coming of more and more misery, brought on by her sacrifices. All her efforts, which cost her dearly, brought her more into bondage. She was heartbroken.

Then a new teacher came who taught the pure words of Hope. The Hope that spoke beyond the grave, to those bound in cords of misery and sin. He spoke liberty, not liberty to wander without a shepherd, but liberty to enjoy sweet fellowship with a kind Master and Father. And He brought the liberty of which He spoke, liberty from the bondage of sin, and from the power of earth’s curse brought on by sin. He declared Himself the Son of God, unbound, and He lived to unbind others. He spoke words of life into her despairing soul, but she was afraid.

Why was she afraid? I do not know. But it was not doubt, fear of another failure, that shook her and made her touch the hem of His garment. Her faith brought her through the crowd to His feet, it was not doubt that made her hide. I believe it was humility. See the words of the Beatitudes:

Blessed [are] the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed [are] they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed [are] the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

She went through these first few baby steps of repentance, and they are detailed in this story. And her baby steps of faith led her to the feet of her Savior. She touched the hem of His garment, not because she trusted it for her savior, not because it contained any virtue of its own, not because it was His, but because it was all she saw herself as worthy to touch. She was meek, humble, broken under her situation, which she was helpless in, and desperate to find freedom from.

It was Christ that saved her, through her faith in Him. Without her faith, she would not have been healed. Without her faith, she could not have found hope. Without her faith, he would not have smiled, and called her Daughter.

What is your bondage? What is the sin that drags you down? Do you have the faith that brings pleasure to God? Are you willing to humble yourself? Are you willing to give all for liberty? Do you hunger for its sweetness enough? Are you willing to take the steps of faith, and fall down, helpless, before your Savior?

With joy and peace in Christ,

Jay Lauser

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 424 other followers