Saturday, March 26, 2016

God's Will is Hard

Isaiah 53:10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.

We are wrapping up Holy Week- I am so excited that Easter is coming and Lent is drawing to an end. The past 39 days have flown by with daily and weekly reminders of God's grace in spite of my sin and His perfection in light of my petty failures. 

On Thursday night, we commemorated the last supper and Jesus's betrayal in the Garden of Gethsemane. Sitting in darkness, we imagined Christ on his knees in the Garden, acutely aware of the suffering that was to come. Jesus cried out to God to take this cup from him. He knew that carrying out God's Will would be hard and painful. Yet he prayed, "Not my will but your will be done." 

Our campus Pastor Jonathan Scott summarized this with the insightful comment "God's will is hard." Let this sink in for a moment.  Jesus came that we might have peace and abundant life  but the process by the hour, day or year of following God's will can be hard. 

Jonathan knows what he is talking about. Over 25 years ago his beloved wife was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She is now confined to a wheelchair. As they have walked out their calling to glorify God, it has been hard.  I have a dear friend whose daughter had a major congenital heart defect.   It was hard caring for a baby who wasn't getting enough oxygen and watching your infant have two open heart surgeries. It has been hard as the avalanche of medical bills came pouring in, knocking them off their feet.    Other friends of our family buried their nine month old Sarah Elizabeth after her ferocious battle to live with half a heart ended. It was hard.  I have watched friends struggle with infertility,  heart broken over dreams that haven't grown and devastated by the ease that teenagers get pregnant. It is hard.  We are heading to Tijuana Mexico for a family mission trip next week and I have been thinking of the difference that being born on one side of the border makes.  A bridge separates life in the suburbs of beautiful San Diego, CA from the poverty and hard scrabble life of Tijuana.  Hard. 

God's will for Jesus was hard. He was to suffer and die on the cross to pay the penalty of our sin.  Imagine giving up your ability to walk so that Jonathan's wife didn't have spend everyday in a wheelchair, paying the hundreds of thousands of dollars for a little girl’s heart surgery, giving up your ability to have a child so a friend with infertility would have a baby, or transplant your heart so nine month old would live and run and play. 

Isaiah 53:3-5 
He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, ,and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.

Jesus took every imperfection, every weakness, every broken heart, every debt, every bit of guilt and shame, every tear, every insult, every curse, and every sickness on himself so that we could have eternal, abundant life.  Peace.

How can you find peace and trust God in the midst of hard times?

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