Well today is what I call a golden day. Delightfully warm weather, a walk to church, beautiful time there, time afterwords to sit and reflect outside with the wind chimes,birds, fountain, and squirrels, cats and dogs. Time for talking to Grandma and Grandpa, and the kids. Just a wonderful day of rest and worship.
I like some of the thoughts I read today in Yancey's book on pain.
"The fact that Jesus came to earth where he suffered and died does not remove pain from our lives. But it does show that God did not sit idly by and watch us suffer in isolation. He became one of us. Thus, in Jesus, God gives us an up-close and personal look at his response to human suffering. All our questions about God and suffering should, in fact, be filtered through what we know about Jesus."...........................
"....How does God feel about our pain? In reply, God did not give us words or theories on the problem of pain. He gave us himself.".......................
"The cross, the most universal image in the Christian religion, offers proof that God cares about our suffering and pain. He died of it. That symbol stands unique among religions of the world. Many of them have gods, but only one has a God who cared enough to become a man and to die."
"...God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself. ....If Jesus was a mere man, his death would prove God's cruelty; the fact that he was God's Son proves instead that God fully identifies with suffering humanity. On the cross, God himself absorbed the awful pain of this world.'
"To some, the image of a pale body glimmering on a dark night whispers of defeat. What good is a God who does not control his Son's suffering? But another sound can be heard: the shout of a God crying out to human beings, 'I LOVE YOU.' Love was compressed for all history in that lonely figure on the cross, who said that he could call down angels at any moment on a rescue mission, but chose not to---because of us. At Calvary, God accepted his own unbreakable terms of justice."
"And thus the cross, a stumbling block to some, became the cornerstone of Christian faith. Any discussion of how pain and suffering fit unto God's scheme ultimately leads back to the cross."..................
"It is a good thing to remember, when we encounter dark disturbing times, that we live our days on Easter Saturday. As the apostle Paul expressed it, 'I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us' (Romans 8:18)."
"By taking it on himself, Jesus dignified pain, showing us how it can be transformed. He gave us a pattern he wants to reproduce in us.........................Jesus, who did not sin, also felt pain.........We are not exempt from the tragedies of this world just as God himself was not exempt............
"According to Paul, at the cross Christ triumphed over the cosmic powers---defeating them not with power but with self-giving love. The cross of Christ may have assured the final outcome, but battles remain for us to fight. Significantly, Paul prayed 'to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings'---embracing both the agony and the ecstasy of Christ's life on earth (Philippians 3:10)."
We have a great high priest who can sympathize "with our weaknesses"...because he has "been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of Grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need. [heb4:15-16] "Because of Jesus, God understands, truly understands, our pain."
"The surgery of life hurts. It helps me, though, to know that the surgeon himself, the Wounded Surgeon, has felt every stab of pain and every sorrow."
I have left so much out---taken a lot out of its context--so better to read the whole book. He talks about the hope we have before us --of an afterlife without pain and that "The Bible stakes God's reputation on his ability to restore creation to its original state of perfection."
Great thoughts as I look forward to the celebration of Easter.
keep praying for Erin --updates at: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/erinpage