Archive for October 6th, 2008

When Our Best Is Not Enough

Monday, October 6th, 2008

Today’s Scripture: Luke 23:13-25 (ESV-text and audio) (KJV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Tyler Connoley):

Last week, we looked at the trial of Jesus, and some of the ways he lived out what he taught — even when real life seemed to argue against doing things such as loving one’s enemy and turning the other cheek.

When things got tough, Jesus remained faithful. I believe that in every step of his trial, Jesus acted in exactly the right way. He was a model for how we should seek to live in similar situations.

If we had stopped last Friday, we might be able to say, “See, if you follow Jesus, everything will be okay. He responded in love and wisdom, and the elders, Pilate, and Herod recognized his innocence and set him free.” But that’s not what happened. Even though Jesus did everything right, the crowd demanded he be crucified, and Pilate turned him over to his brutal executioners.

This is real life: Even when we follow God faithfully, terrible things sometimes happen to us. Our family wounds us deeply. A stranger attacks us. A crowd demands that we be crucified. Even if we could be as faithful as Jesus, the world is not faithful. Tragedy and desolation may come to us anyway.

What do we do with that fact? This, I believe, is the important question of the crucifixion, and one that people have been struggling with for centuries.

I’m not going to say there are easy answers. As Kristin Lee pointed out a couple weeks ago, many people are deeply troubled by the idea that Jesus’ death happened for any good reason. Those of us who love Jesus shrink at the thought of him suffering — as we should at anyone’s suffering.

At those times when I experience desolation in my life or in the lives of those around me, there is one thing that keeps me going, and I believe it also sustained Jesus on this day. In the face of terrible betrayal and pending death, Jesus knew that God was good. Jesus could suffer and die, in the absolute certainty that God would bring good out of this day. And, in the end, God did.

As Christians, we don’t have to be stuck at the cross, because the resurrection is right around the corner. Even when those around us are faithless and do terrible things to us, even when bad things happen despite our best efforts, we can trust, as Jesus did, that God is faithful.

Thought for the day: Have you experienced desolation in your life? Have you known tragedy despite doing everything right? God is faithful, and will not leave you there. Trust in the power of resurrection.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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