Do you ever read the news headlines? Most of us are aware of the horrors of the world we live in. Earlier this week there was an attack in Brussels. Last fall there was an attack in Paris. Over the past year there have been terrorist attacks, earthquakes, storms, train derailments, plane crashes, car wrecks, murders, babies born with devastating birth defects, cancer diagnoses, deaths from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, and the list seems to go on, and on, and on, and on.
We live in a world that can overwhelm us with sadness at its tragedy and ugliness. It is crushing. I think that part of what distresses us is that we see the glimpses of purity and beauty and we know, deep in our souls, that it should not be this way.
The ugliness of our world is not something that God created. Those flashes of purity and beauty are what He created. The weight of the calamity around us is created by our sin and our rebellion against Him.
How can we keep our hearts uplifted in the middle of the storm around us?
Two thousand years ago the most wretched possible incident occurred. Jesus, the Son of God, who is God Himself, came to live with us as a human. He lived a perfect life. There was not even any hint of sin in Him. A group of power-hungry men, men who knew that the things He did could only be done by God, took Him and conspired with enemies of God to have Jesus murdered. As Jesus died, the light left the earth. The ground shook. The storm struck. And God turned His face away and abandoned His Son to the consequences of the sin He had never committed.
Talk about horror, tragedy, calamity, overwhelming sadness, distress, ugliness and wretchedness! If we get even a glimpse of what that day must have been like, our perspective on our world is forever different.
Yet it did not stop there. Sunday is coming! God took that ugly, awful mess and turned it into eternal glory.
God is waiting to take my mess, and your mess, and turn it into glory. If He can take that horrible day and make it a thing of joy and wonder and celebration and beauty and redemption, what do you think He can do with us, and with our world today?
Ask Him today what He can do with you. Go to Him and ask Him how He wants to change your life and your world. Ask Him to do that for you. Ask Him to keep you closer to Himself.
Ask, and it will be given to you;
Seek, and you will find;
Knock, and it will be opened unto you
As you come into this weekend of remembrance, I want to encourage you to not let the awfulness of Good Friday slip by you. Allow yourself to feel the weight of our sinfulness, and the punishment that Jesus endured for us. I don't like pausing there; it hurts so much! Yet if we open ourselves up to the pain of what our sin did to our Savior, then the glory of the finishing of that work, and the contrast of the Light of Sunday to the darkness of Friday, is magnified.
As you walk through your own hard tragedies today, as your heart is overwhelmed with sadness and grief this weekend, remember: Sunday is coming!