Monday, December 7, 2015

When It Hurts So Much

Monday, December 7, 2015

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But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.   Isaiah 53:5(NLT)
A bone-chilling reality hit me last week as I was watching coverage of the San Bernardino tragedy; the newsperson gave the statistic:

In the U.S. we have more than one mass shooting every day!

I tended to think about these high-powered killings as isolated incidents we encounter occasionally.  But, last Wednesday, day #336th of 2015, San Bernardino became the 354th mass shooting of the year.[2]  And while that was unfolding there was another mass shooting taking place in Savannah, Georgia.  At this rate we will have 385 this year.

The pain inflicted by this kind of madness chills me to the bone.  It also reminds us of the capability of the human heart to birth and nurture murderous intentions. 

We live in the days of Noah!

The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart.  Genesis 6:5-6(NLT)
Notwithstanding man’s cruelty and depraved callousness concerning the value of human life, there is another thought that plays bigger in my mind these days; the cross of Jesus Christ has never been more winsome to my hurting heart!

John Stott wrote: 

I could never myself believe in God if it were not for the Cross.  In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it?[3]

Speaking of the ministry of Jesus in not only forgiving our sins, but taking them upon himself, the writer of Hebrews put it this way:

This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.  
Hebrews 4:15(NLT)

If you carry that thought to San Bernardino, and all the other atrocities of these days, Jesus didn’t just die for our sins; He took them from us and made them his.  He identified with my murderous nature; He took everything bad about Russell and carried it all to the cross.

People want to make sense of the horror of mass shooting events and other human depravity.  Well…none of it makes any sense, except in light of the cross, the Gospel’s Good News, that even though we are covered in sin and moving ourselves farther and farther away from God, Jesus was not willing to sit comfortably in heaven and not do something.

What He did was show up, and He understood us, and He willingly gave Himself for us; and He knows our pain and evil. 

But more than that – more than just knowing, feeling, wishing us help, Jesus did something about it!  And because of the cross the blessed Holy Spirit of God comes to us in our grief and despair…even as the shell casings continue to hit the ground.

There is, and will be, more pain…likely there will be increasing shootings, earthquakes, mass cruelty and more…and in all of it, the cross is our beacon of hope and comfort.

For You Today

When it “hurts so much” that you can’t imagine God is there, remember the cross; His pain is proof He cares.

Think about that out on the Rocky Road today…and have a great day!

[1] Title image:  By Jolanta Dyr (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons
[2] As reported by a mass shooting is where four or more people are murdered in one event
[3] Quoted by Timothy Keller in The Reason for God, (N.Y., Riverhead Books, 2008), p.203

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