Ramblings on a Saturday Night

12 Jul

I was too hot to stay inside. After sweating to the 80’s on the treadmill (yes, I’m old) I decided to come out on the front porch to see ol’ Super Moon. He’s really something, full and bright, so bright you can see the dark spots (there’s a sermon illustration in there somewhere).

There is a cricket hoedown going on out here but not much else. No, wait. A loud motorcycle just rolled by. Now some talking I can’t make out. Ever wonder why people seem to talk louder at night? Maybe you’ve never noticed that.

I know I should be sleeping. I’ve got to preach tomorrow. But I find I’m so excited that sleep is hard to come by. I know some of our members won’t have trouble sleeping tomorrow around 11 am. I’ve learned that what I’m excited about doesn’t always excite other people. Generally, I can brush it off. I tell myself they’re old or I’m just not their favorite person to listen to and that’s OK. But then I beat myself up sometimes. If only I had a better preacher voice. If only I could be more persuasive. If only. But then all my onlys seem so small when I think about the One I get to talk about. Surely He can make His own way in the world and He surely does. That He chooses to use any of us in any way is pure grace and that He actually does use us to impact others is proof that He is a miracle-working God.

Still though, it is a broken world, there’s no way around that. Joel Osteen’s shiny smile just doesn’t work in the world of cancer and famine and senseless crime. There’s got to be a deeper victory in this thing than a good parking space at the mall. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. How do we live in this world which is so filled with pain? We can surely ignore the pain. But we know deep down in our hearts that the pain of this broken world is always lurking in the shadows ready one day to pounce on us. And we know the moment we try to insulate ourselves from pain we’ve abandoned the great commandment to love God and love neighbor, for how can we truly say we love another if we don’t stand with them in their pain? So ignoring pain doesn’t cut it.

We can try to fight the brokenness. There is much to commend this approach. It is an act of caring to fight evil and sickness and pain or to provide support for those who are experiencing these things. But it is also exhausting. Ultimately, the pain is too big for us. As much as you try, you can’t care for everyone and the ones you care for you can’t care for equally. Further, the pain we fight often fights us, as we see the brokenness of the world the brokenness of our own hearts is revealed. Bitterness is often the companion of the activist, of the servant. “Why isn’t anyone helping me? Where is God? I thought this service thing would be more glamorous.” Souls shrink in the fight for good. There just aren’t any people in the world like Clark Kent. Nobody’s walking around with a big “S” on their undershirt just waiting for the right moment to save the day. None of us is saving the day. No one. We’re not even saving our own day. The only reason there are a thousand Self-help books on the shelf at Barnes and Noble is because we can’t help ourselves. Our efforts fall short time after time. How many times have you resolved not to give in to that bad habit?

So much pain and suffering. Where is God?

Here is the good news, the only good news worth living and dying for . . . God is here. He has entered this world of suffering. He left the glories of heaven to take on human flesh. He emptied himself by taking on flesh and becoming a servant. He humbled himself by dying, even dying on a cross. The brokenness of the world has been undone by Jesus who, out of love for the Father and us, entered the broken world and suffered the utmost punishment, bearing the sin of the world. We don’t have a God who created and then allowed His fallen creatures to go their own way. We have a God who entered the suffering of His fallen creation to redeem it. And redeem it He did. It is not complete. But the empty tomb and the Spirit are the foretastes of the coming reality. This is not the end. No matter what happens in our country or in our churches or in our own lives . . . the Lord reigns. He will put everything, including death and suffering, under His feet.

This is the God who is worthy of worship, an almighty God who is good enough to come suffer in your place. So worship Him today. Come with a sense of excitement to worship. Enter in heart and soul to song and prayer and sermon. Look for people to encourage in the things of God. Let your life be taken up with God, not only on Sunday but every day. Because a day is coming when there will be no Super Moon, no sun, only the light of God making all things new.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: