Monday, December 30, 2013

Reader's Choice Post 2013 #3

This week, I am continuing to go through some of the top read posts written in 2013.  This is a post that I know every one of us can relate to because we are either dealing with something that doesn't make sense or we know someone who is.  Perhaps that's why it is the third most read post written in 2013.  I guess with Christmas so fresh in our memories, this is a good post to read and reflect on how God's plan didn't make sense at times.  Why would He send Jesus as a baby to grow and die on the cross.  Imagine how that had to be so confusing for those who didn't have the hindsight that we have - they lived through all those events!

Things don't Always Make Sense

I know people who are going through things that just don't make sense.  I've gone through situations that don't make sense.  And I'm sure you can say the same.  I know a few people who have amazing faith that are struggling through a recurrence of cancer and have gone through two or three years of treatment and the cancer is still there.  I know people who have been treated unfairly in their workplace.  I know very gifted people who are struggling to find a job.  I've prayed for children struggling with a chronic illness.  There are things in life that absolutely do not make sense and we know without a doubt that God could take it all away, but for reasons we just don't understand He doesn't take it all away.  The verses I am looking at today have made me think about the things in life that don't make sense.  This is because Jesus' death just doesn't make any sense at all from our human perspective - especially if we are only looking at His death.  Please use the link and read Matthew 27:27-56.

Crucifixion was one of the Roman Empire's form of torture and death for criminals.  In these verses we see that Jesus also experienced terrible beatings and mocking before hand.  If only those people knew who He really was!  At any one of those moments, Jesus could have saved Himself from this unfair and horrific treatment; however, He didn't.  That just doesn't make sense on the surface - He is God, why did He do this?  Even on the cross, He continued to suffer and people continued to mock Him, yet He didn't stop it.  He even suffered the anguish of being separated from God, yet He stayed on the cross.  God could have stopped all these events, in fact He could have prevented all these events, but He didn't.  Leaving the story where I left it today would leave us all confused and wondering how such awful things could happen.  But we get to see the end of the story, which is the fact that Jesus rose from the dead three days later.

We understand that all this happened so that we would no longer have to be separated from God.  Jesus didn't stop any of it from happening because He loves us.  God didn't rescue Him, because His plan and victory would be all the greater when He let Jesus die.  But remember that all of those people who followed Jesus didn't understand all this and lived through the confusion and pain.  This didn't make sense!

James 1:2-4 (NLT) says, "Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing."  When we are going through difficulties or even things that we would consider horrific and God just doesn't seem to be taking you out of that situation, it is really hard to have the perspective of considering it an opportunity for great joy.  But I think we need to remember that it is an opportunity for joy - meaning we can know that great joy will be coming in the end.  That can be the very thing that we can hang our hope on - we know that joy will be coming.  We may not know when the end will happen, but our joy will come.  When we believe in the hope of the victory Jesus shares with us, we can endure.

Are things just not making sense right now?  Do you trust that God has bigger plans for you?  Can you place your hope in Jesus' victory to help you endure?

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