March 28, 2015 § 1 Comment
“Despair and hope. They travel the road to Jerusalem together, as together they travel every road we take – despair at what in our madness we are bringing down on our own heads and hope in him who travels the road with us and for us and who is the only one of us all who is not mad. Hope in the King who approaches every human heart like a city. And it is a very great hope as hopes go and well worth all our singing and dancing and sad little palms because not even death can prevail against this King and not even the end of the world, when end it does, will be the end of him and of the mystery and majesty of his love. Blessed be he.”
This past week a dear woman died of cancer. You may have heard of Kara Tippetts, a young wife and mother in Colorado, who, along with her husband Jason, a church planter, and their four precious children, chronicled their journey and their hope in Jesus. Their story is profoundly inspiring.
Cancer and Death, Jesus and Hope – How can this be?
For those who may not know, Palm Sunday is the celebration of Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem one week before His crucifixion. It was the time of the Jewish Passover, and hundreds of thousands filled the city, many of whom converged on Jesus as He rode in, believing Him to be their promised Deliverer (which He was, only not as they expected).
Every emotion was captured in the moment. The crowd expressed elation. Critics seethed. Children cried out.
But Jesus wept.
Through His tears, He cried, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes” (Luke 19:42).
His sadness was over a city and people who lived as though this is all we have. And I get that – I am inclined towards seeing life and the world through the spectrum of ‘now,’ and when the ravages of the curse hit so violently, such as in the death of a young mom, it is difficult to get beyond the pain and loss. And all the pontificating in the world won’t make that pain subside.
And it would all be so hopeless, except for one thing: Jesus didn’t come to fix ‘today.’
I know this sounds harsh, but it is where our true hope lies. ‘Today’ is part of the damaged litany of this broken world. Fixing right now would only bring temporary relief, and spawn new sorrows for tomorrow. But what Jesus did, in His death and resurrection, enables me to endure the worst of todays, because it promises that forever is a settled matter for the good. No, Jesus came to fix forever.
One day all the pain, sorrow and death that this world brings, will be gone. The gospel teaches that after Jesus wept, He died – and then He conquered. And now He prepares the Feast we will one day share, when everything is made new.
Kara understood and firmly believed this: “My pain is gone, my fears are calmed, I’m in the sovereignly good hands of Jesus. He is my forever enough now.” – Letter to My Readers Upon My Death
Friends, this is our good news…
Photograph by Jen Lints Photography
July 20, 2012 § 1 Comment
The world floods in on all of us. The world can be kind, and it can be cruel. It can be beautiful, and it can be appalling. It can give us good reason to hope and good reason to give up all hope. It can strengthen our faith in a loving God, and it can decimate our faith.
Frederick Buechner, The Longing for Home
What does one say in the shadow of such violence as visited upon Aurora, Colorado at a theater this week? No words can bring back lost life. There is no comfort to curtail the tide of sorrow for those who have suffered such violation.
As you have read here many times, our world is broken. And there are moments when we witness particularly brutal reminders of just how damaged it is. Though we don’t have to look past ourselves, in such violence we are reminded of how far our own sin would take us without the benefit of God’s restraining grace.
It all seems so random. Last week there was a shooting in the store our youngest daughter works in as a receptionist. Fortunately she was with me in another state for college orientation and registration. Katherine and I have praised God over and again. But here, this…
I offer no ‘how-tos’ or principles for understanding such tragedy. I know what you know – from the moment of the fall something has been terribly wrong with our world. Space Shuttles explode in mid-air. Seemingly quiet recluses go on murderous rampages. Tsunamis demolish countries. Babies die before being born. Soldiers – mere boys and girls – die in war. Marriages crumble. Depression ambushes sweet minds. Life breaks dear hearts.
It is all so painful.
We want to protect those we love – but ultimately we can’t even protect ourselves. We want to recoil and find political and theological resolves – all for the wrong, though understandable reason: We are afraid and we don’t want those whom we love to suffer.
What we have is Jesus.
Jesus never explained away tragedy with platitudes, nor did He shy away from it. The comfort He offered was anchored in what He would do on the cross, and accomplish in His resurrection. In these two events, one horrifically violent and unjust, and the other miraculously victorious, He would make good on His promise for a renewed world – In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33).
We have no answers. Not today. Not ever. We have Jesus.
And this is our good news…