As it is with the Christian life, if we want to see clearly – as God sees – we have to look at the “big picture” of salvation. If we want to understand Jesus’ death, for instance, we need to begin with His birth and when we do, we will undoubtedly learn something very interesting . . . that He was born to die.
If you want to get technical, that “pieta” moment first occurred not on Calvary, but in Bethlehem. The manger’s wood was a foreshadowing; it is the “cross” of Christmas. There is far more going on at Jesus’ birth than many of us realize upon first glance.
Suffering will always be hard to understand; there’s no quick answer, bumper sticker, or 140-character tweet that can totally answer all of our “whys.” But even in our grief, we can look to the crucifix and know that we have not been forgotten or abandoned by God.
The problem with the self-help phenomenon is it can gives us the illusion that we can actually fix ourselves without the help of God. Instead of dealing with our hurt, sin, and deep issues, we learn strategies for coping and hiding. We’re just putting band-aids over our gaping, oozing wounds.
In high school, I hid my wounded-ness and deep insecurity behind my list of achievements. With three varsity sports, student council, shiny awards and leadership roles galore, I looked like I had my act together. But inside, I never thought I was enough. I was never pretty enough, smart enough, or funny enough. I believed lies about myself that bound me. I thought the shame and pain I carried inside from past hurts could never mend. So I just coped. I kept pushing through and pretending I was okay when I wasn’t.
Listen “Nothing but the Blood” by Hillsong Listen on iTunes Listen on YouTube Reflect The new meaning that Christ gave to suffering was not so much made manifest in his death but rather in his victory over death, that is, the Resurrection. He “was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:25): the two events are inseparable in the thought of Paul and of the Church. It is a universal human experience: in this life pleasure and pain follow Read more [...]
Have you ever noticed in the Apostles’ Creed how quickly we pass over the earthly life of our Lord? Born, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, rose from the dead. We say nothing about the beatitudes, nothing about miracles. Just he was born, suffered, died and rose again. Just those three. That’s all there is in life. We’re born; the earthly life is passed over, because all that matters concerning an earthly life is whether we are doing the will of God. And then, resurrection. First, Read more [...]