Saturday, August 5, 2017

everything is broken...however

Because we all live in a broken world, we all deal with hardship, struggle and pain. This is not unique to us nor are we somehow or for some reason singled out as God's target for punishment because we experience difficulties and struggles. 

There is a bumper sticker that says "sh*t happens." This is a crude but fairly accurate way of saying suffering is simply part of living in a fallen and broken world and indication that on some level even the world gets it. 

Not only is our world broken but we are broken; everyone of us... no exceptions. A primary indication is we all have a endless longing to be valued and loved. A longing designed to be satisfied by the source of life and love. We are all in **need of healing and restoration for not being loved and cherished, no matter how well-off we may think or appear to be. And this is simply because we have walked away from the source of love and life, God himself. 

Some may object saying they have never walked away from God. They just don't care. If anything they might say God has walked away from them. 

Or some just don't feel the kind of longing I am describing. 

But God says he loves you. Have you explored this claim, what it means, if it's true and how? He also claims to be the Creator and provider of all things. Do you acknowledge this claim? Have you explored whether any of these claims (and many others) have merit? These are not insignificant claims if true. Should you ignore them? If you have not seriously (since they are serious claims) explored them, and they turn out to be true, you have in effect walked away from God. 

To illustrate, if I offer you a million dollars and you thumb your nose at me and never seek to determine whether my offer is real or not (when it actually is), what would you call not exploring this offer? The issue isn't the actual offer (which for sake of illustration we are saying is real), it's your not believing or at least checking it out. Which means only for you, the offer is not real, when in fact it is.  

The fact that we also think we are going through a unique hardship (and having a pity party as a result) only speaks of how self obsessed (and alone/separated/isolated) we truly are. Because our relationship with God is severed (and therefore non existent) it results in all other things and relationships being broken. 

At a very deep level we all long to connect with someone who loves us with no strings attached; who will love us warts and all. We seek this from others who can never truly and fully love us this way (which is why we hide our darkest, most shameful secrets [I am sure you can think of some] even from those closest to us). We long to be loved at a level in which we don't have to be concerned about hiding our true broken selves but are free to be who we really are and still be fully accepted and loved. 

A solution that far exceeds the problem

The beauty of all of this is the all wise and power Creator of all things stepped into our world of brokenness as a man and took on the ultimate pain and suffering of hatred, persecution, ridicule and rejection not to mention God poured out his full judgment for the rebellion of mankind (including our own) onto Christ his eternal Son. This ultimately lead to his death (when he in fact deserved none of it) so that he could one day free us from all of the pain and suffering of this broken world. A world we broke. Death (his) had to occur to complete the judgment for our breaking things and remove the consequences and pain. 

He also did this knowing we could never love him with a love equal to the love he showed us.  

Jesus died for us so he could restore us to union with his Father. He did this knowing we never did or could ever do enough to equal the level and extent of love he showed us. Yet he knew all of this and did this anyway. His love is that great. 

What does this tell us about his love; that he is willing to give more than he receives back? What kind of love is this that compelled Christ to take on the loss of this very love he has known from all eternity past so others might have it? What does this tell us about the greatness (largeness) and abundance (overflow) of the heart of God and his Son?

Christ didn't do this so he might gain something from it for himself. He actually experienced just the opposite when he set aside something infinitely valuable and glorious so he could make this happen.

What he did gain however is the joy of knowing others would know this very same love of his Father that he knew and has always known. He delighted in our delight. 

A love so great and delightful for him that he longed for others to experience it along with him. He was compelled to share it. He simply could not keep this love to (or for) himself.

His longing to share was so great he sacrificed some of his own experience of that love for a time so he could share it with others that we might share in it together with him. 

Can you imagine such a love as this!? This was the love of God in and through Christ for you. 

This is how great his love for us is and the basis for the promise and hope of fully participating in this love one day for all who trust Jesus.

Do you trust him?

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*The realty is hardship and pain is not suppose to happen. Though it may be the common experience for all, it is an aberration, not a part of our original design nor will it be a part of the future experience for those who are in Christ. 

**As we plug in to God and his infinite love for us, our longings are redirected toward him and our need subsides. The more we plug in the less we feel the need to be affirmed (loved) by others.  Once we are in his presence and fully plugged in, a constant sense of value and love (i.e. glory) in Him will be an ever increasing part of our existence.  

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Grace to you
Jim Deal