Most Saturday evenings I’m given a warning. Told about what’s going to happen immanently and given the opportunity to escape. It goes like this “Match of The Day will follow this news bulletin, if you don’t want to know the scores from today’s games please look away now.” (Man Utd fans may find some scenes upsetting). The difficulty is for all of us that looking away isn’t always an option. The problems and pain arrive in our world and we do not have the option to look away. We recoil instinctively from suffering – it’s why we pull our hand back when the plate is too hot in the restaurant! We’re made in the image of a perfect God and all imperfection, pain and brokenness brings frustration and disappointment into view. UK Band, James had a hit single with the song ‘Sit Down’ which contained these lyrics
It’s hard to carry on
When you feel all alone
Now I’ve swung back down again
It’s worse than it was before
If I hadn’t seen such riches
I could live with being poor
Because we’ve been made in the image of God, we too have seen riches that make the poverty of our broken world unbearable to live with. All of us have within us a longing for eternal life and the perfection of heaven. We want distance between ourselves and pain. We want to look away. No, more than that – we want it to go away! The good news of the gospel is that God does not cover His eyes from the upsetting scenes of our lives. He enters them.
even when we were dead in our trespasses, [God] made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
Jesus meets our death with His life, our sin with His salvation and our rebellion with His rescue! It’s good news for the world experiencing pain, suffering and brokenness. There is a Redeemer! When the diagnosis of our spiritual condition is at its very worst, God’s deliverance is given. When our spiritual monitor is flatlining God makes us alive with Jesus.
‘grace is love that seeks you out when you have nothing to give in return.’
People often say ‘when you feel far from God, guess who’s moved?’ The implication to this statement is that you really need to take a few steps in a certain direction if you want to feel close to God again. But this is not the message of the Gospel. It’s not good news! The good news is that when we were farthest away, when we were dead, the missionary God came for us! He didn’t look away because the scene was too upsetting.
grace has brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home.