Re:Verse reading–Matthew 26:36-46 (day six)
Often, the last thing we want to hear when we face any kind of suffering is “it must be God’s will.” Although it is meant to console, it often never does. Remember Job’s friends, they were far better off just listening or grieving with him, but they just had to try to make sense of his suffering by offering all the reasons God would allow it. Just listen is certainly good advice for us too when consoling a friend, but notice Jesus’ words leading up to his darkest hour, “not my will, but yours be done.” In his great distress (more than we can possibly imagine) it was confidence in His Father’s will that gave him hope; it sustained him. The writer of Hebrews would even declare, “For the joy set before him, he endured the cross.” That kind of joy, in the face of great suffering, could only come to Jesus if he could see through it to behold the purpose’s of his Father on the other side of it. His suffering wasn’t the result of faithlessness, nor was it arbitrary (for no reason at all); no, it was heavy with purpose.
We live in a world broken by the corruption of sin, and we feel it, some of us more than others, but we can be certain of this, that just as Jesus’ suffering (and resurrection) brought new life to the world, so our suffering can yield the same in lives around us. Purpose.
Re:Verse reading–Romans 8:18-39 (day six)
Paul writes something mysterious and incredible to the Romans. He writes, “…the Spirit helps us in our weakness,…the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Have you ever given that much thought? It is a marvelous one! Now I don’t know all that this verse means, but there are a few things I do know. The Holy Spirit prays for us when we don’t know how to pray. This means, not only does the Holy Spirit know the nitty gritty of our life, but He is actively doing something about it. When we are at a loss, the Holy Spirit is not-He intercedes! That is incredible news!
You know those times when you are done? You can’t endure anymore; you’re spent, and yet you seem to make it through? Well now you know the reason why; the Holy Spirit pulls you through! Maybe you should give Him thanks! It’s okay, go ahead and praise Him for His intercession!
Re:Verse reading–Romans 8:18-39 (day one)
“The whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth”–v 22.
As a male, I will need to be careful and humble as I speak of this reality. I do not, and will never, understand the cost that a woman pays to give birth. I watched Holly do it. I was proud of her. I prayed for her. But, I can never fully understand the experience.
In the same way, Paul compares the sorrow and stress of the present world to the pains of childbirth. Excruciating at times. More painful than we expected, and lasting far longer. We want to give up or go back, but we can’t.
As a woman suffers pain for the sake of the baby who will be born in the process, Jesus taught believers to look forward to the world that will come. Something wonderful is being born! Worth even the suffering of the present moment.
Re:Verse reading–Romans 5:1-11 (day six)
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings,…” Romans 5:3
The Brothers Grimm wrote their fairy tales to provide a sense of escapism or present to their readers cautionary tales. Fairy tales are best when they impart some truth; acting as a sweet easy-to-swallow capsule to an otherwise unpleasant reality. And like medicine, you only use it when needed, or when you are eager to be swept away to another world.
The Gospel is nothing like a fairy tale. That’s Paul’s message in the first few verses of Romans 5. The Gospel is not a supplement to life, to be sprinkled here, or applied there as needed, no, the Gospel meets us in all of life, messy bits and all. It is not a sweet notion, or fashionable (or unfashionable) fairy tale, but is a gritty and real antidote to our most desperate brokenness. The Gospel is gritty; it is the clearest lens which to understand all of life, and it changes everything!