Friday, September 11, 2009

Words from Afar

Thanks to my friends who reminded me today that God has not changed. God is a good God, by definition. His character is good. Do we then understand what happens? Should I agonize over the sad and painful things in life, the things that don't make sense? No. I need to cling to the cross. It is my proof of the goodness of God. When all looks false, dim, dull, and dark, the cross is my evidence of things hoped for. It is the evidence of things not seen.

The tradition I grew up in denied the importance of the cross, forbidding the cross displayed in the sanctuary. The empty grave, they said, that is what matters. That is what we focus on. I hope I am not mis-stating their position. They taught the cross, yet it was the empty tomb that they saw as all important. Yes the resurrection is important, but how many times is the cross mentioned? The cross is mentioned several times, and Paul mentioned the preaching of the cross, as he did the resurrection. You don't have one without the other. The preaching of the cross is foolishness to those who don't believe, but it is the power of God to those who believe.

I the resurrection the evidence that the cross was sufficient?

The cross is evidence of the love of Christ. It is evidence of the plan of God to reconcile his children--me--to himself. It is the substance of my hope. I can't grasp the overwhelming wonder and goodness of this news. One of these days, hopefully soon, I want to grasp this enough to not be so thrown by the woundings of others, by circumstances, by tragedies, by fear.

Thank you to my friends for the needed reminder. Although I wouldn't say my faith has been shaken, I have been discouraged by circumstances. I have wondered, despite my trust, if God was going to allow some very bad things to happen, and if I was going to have to somehow assess the unthinkable as good.

I cannot understand this God. He can be known and yet is unknowable. We can understand things, yet not understand all. He is the ultimate mystery. His ways are beyond knowing. Some people with greater faith or minds less inclined to struggle through things do not have the great trials of faith that I have. Ultimately I believe certain things are true, but I have times when I really struggle to try to fit the pieces of who God is, how he has described himself and his ways together. Some of the pieces are incomprehensible to me, but that doesn't stop me from trying to grasp them.

I don't get shaken in the same way anymore, but I go through periods of grief, struggling to deal with or understand trials. Perhaps it is because I simply don't have a real grasp on the truth of the cross and of the resurrection.

1 comment:

LittleWomenMom said...

Wow, I have never really thought about this. In terms of the cross vs. the grave. They both have such power--the cross is the redemption, that which gives us the ability to be called the sons of God, but the grave gives us the power to walk that out. Both are vital. A few weeks ago we were studying in Hebrews about faith, but from there we went to asking "why?". James 1:2-4
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Why must we go through trials, so that God may complete His perfect work, so that you will be complete, lacking nothing!!

There is another verse,about the purpose of trials and testing, but I am not finding it tonight. I would wonder if you are a "show me" type of personality, so where one person just accepts, you have to test it, stretch it and explore each of the promises to make them your own?