We celebrate and remember today that Jesus was brutally tortured and killed. And, we call this single event in history "good"?
We call it good, because it is good. It is very good.
I have been thinking much lately, in light of my own personal physical pain, what it might look to truly, deeply, be thankful for my suffering. What might it look like to rejoice in my trial or to see my pain as a gift of joy? (James 1:2: Consider it pure joy when you face trials of all kinds.)
In the midst of pain, this is a very hard thing to do.
Even two steps away from suffering, the clouds can lift and I can see "reasons" and grace in hindsight. I can see what He has done in it and through it... when I am looking at it from some distance. But, right smack dab in the middle of pain... rejoicing, being thankful and calling pain "good" is hard.
This past year, I have felt the Lord calling me to this, though. He seems to be leading me onward in this journey of pain and inviting me to "more". At least, that is what I sense by His invitation. There is more to be had when you can call it good and see Me as good in it. Is this what He has been whispering?
He isn't asking me to say this with words; He is asking me to know this with heart.
Although a rough path, I do find myself understanding it a bit more. I seem to be able to, even in the midst, to say that He is good. My trust in His love over me is expanding. This is a gift, in-and-of-itself. Truly. It isn't something that I could teach anyone, ...I can barely find words to explain it..., but it is something I have had to live through. I have had to walk in, to feel, to wrestle with .
In truth, my physical pain has been quite minimal in compared with other pains that I have wrestled with through the years. Recently, I experienced an impromptu gathering of women. This table full of women had all come from divorced and broken families. As we shared, we found such comfort in hearing each other's stories. In each woman, regardless of age, tears were readily available... brimming eyes and some spilling tenderly on cheeks.
Such deep pain. Such soul upheaval. Such foundation breaking we all experienced at young, tender ages... even though our stories are all different! This pain. How do you call this pain "good"?
Was what they did that day to my Jesus, my Brother, good? NO! But... but, ...strangely, yes. Yes, it was good.
I am so glad they did! Isn't that just a crazy statement?! I am so glad they killed Him and that He gave His life for me! What an upside down thought?! But, what else do I have but that beautiful death on the cross. What else do I rely on, each day, but the blood of my precious Savior poured out on me!? I couldn't have the resurrection if I didn't have the death!
Don't we, in the cross, have a model for thanking God in suffering? Don't we have in Christ, each time we take communion, a picture of what it means to rejoice and say "thank you" for death, pain and suffering?
How does this work with the intense evil in our world? How does this work with the pain inflicted by Satan and those who are filled and living in his sick and twisted darkness? How does this work with sin, base choices, ...and depravity? How does this work with Jesus not being a victim... but being the One who chose this. He, Himself, layed His life down.
I don't know. I really don't know. These answers have been debated for centuries. Certainly, there is no easy answer!
But, wasn't Pilate ...and Caiaphas ... and Judas ...and the Roman soldiers mocking Him... were they not acting as Satan's very hands of evil? Were they not heinous in their actions? Sinful in their choices?
I don't know much about this topic, but this I do know: I boast in the cross of Christ. I boast in my Savior crucified! I boast.
What I do know is that today is Good Friday. I will remember what Christ did for me today! And, I will give thanks for the suffering! ...His suffering. ...and mine.
I call it good. Because, it is good.
a re-post from April 2011
a re-post from April 2011