Did you ever get one of those “Aha!” moments, almost like a light bulb suddenly went off… but you haven’t quite fit the pieces together? Almost like… something is on the tip of your tongue, in the forefront of your mind, but you haven’t quite put your finger on it? Like… when you recognize an actor, a voice, a famous line, and you’re thinking, “I know, I know… it’s… it’s….” You’re on the cusp of figuring something out, but aren’t quite there yet.
The past two Sundays at church we have been studying Psalm 61:
Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the foe.
I long to dwell in your tent forever
and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.
We have been unpacking the ramificatons of suffering - why we suffer, where it comes from, how God can be sovereign, good, when the world is filled with evil. We experience painful things in life, oftentimes struggle just to get by. We watch the news unfold about the devastation in Japan, and we wonder - why did God let this happen?
I believe much of the things we endure are a direct result of our sinful nature, living in a fallen world, the choices that humanity as a whole has made with the gift of free will. When we trust God as our Savior, we are forgiven and made whole… but we are still flesh and blood, living in a sinful world. Not all suffering is a direct result of our own choices; some things just happen.
In his sermon Pastor Dave says, “Wherever God’s kingdom intersects with the fallen world, something shakes. Something’s gotta give… something pops!”
You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginnings of birth pains.
These verses are speaking of signs of the end times. God’s kingdom is coming closer and closer; He is working in the hearts and minds of His people, and the fallen world is shaking, reacting in a powerful way.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope…
Romans 8:18-21 (emphasis mine)
We don’t enjoy suffering… but it’s comforting to know that despite what we feel when we experience these things, they are happening for a reason. Instead of leaving us to sin and its demise, God in His mercy subjected sin itself to frustration and gave us a way out. He showed up as our Savior, showed up on the cross and died for our sins – and just think, how the earth shook on that day!
I can see this on a grand scale - almost unnatural disasters, national upheaval across the world. And I see it on a more personal level – my flesh reacting when I know I’m supposed to do something or act a certain way, resisting the Spirit.
I’m always not-quite-figuring-it-out. I have these glimmers of inspiration, wondering if there’s some light at the end of the tunnel and I’ll suddenly grasp a concept. While listening to the sermon on Sunday, I wondered if I could apply this to my struggle with depression (or whatever you want to call it). There are some moments when it definitely feels like I POP, when I’m shaken, when there’s this collision with reality and insanity… I wonder how much, if any, could be contributed to those supernatural forces swirling all around me. Are they affecting me at the chemical level? Are they messing with my mind? It could be nothing, but I felt this intense parallel… except that I feel powerless to do anything about it.
Therefore do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
2 Corinthians 4:16-17