Thursday, February 16, 2012

The "Suffering" Gospel Truth

God commanded Israel to establish Feast Days and Altars as memorials to His rescuing them from seasons of suffering. This was not to glorify suffering but to memorialize it as a reminder of both being rescued and what they were rescued from. To deny the "dark shadow" of those perilous seasons in their lives, would make the truth of their suffering and subsequent deliverance, useful to no one.

We live in a world in which the greater majority of people have not lived "black and white" lives, but lives filled with the "greys" of pain, deceit, death, dishonesty, and every other ill known to man. This means that a message of hope dressed in the falsely promised attire of "perfect people" and "always victorious" Christians is at best untenable and at worst impossible to achieve.

Jesus declared, "In this world, you will have troubles." that isn't pessimism or a "negative confession," but an admission of the fallibility and brokeness of humanity. After all, to be rescued from something, you must first be bound by it. Our stories of pain, suffering, and deliverance are not blights on our testimonies but rather, they are the "spiritual tatoos" that signpost the divine encounters along the course of our journey.