So, I’m sitting in my place, and a song I have heard many times comes on my predictable Jesus-y spotify playlist.
The song is about how amazing it is that God would become human and take our place to die for all people – to die for me. That sin is too broken and death is unavoidable, but God can bring life to dead things . . . It’s my kind of song.
The first words of the first verse bothered me a little. They go like this: “On a shameful day He died . . .” I struggled with those words, because I don’t only look at the day Jesus died as shameful. Horrible, yes. Painful, yes. But, also – glorious . . . and Life-giving . . . and awe-inspiring.
And, if I had to, I would ask him to do it again.
Wow. That was a startling realization for me. I would ask him to do it again . . .
If I was there, now, and Jesus asked me what I wanted him to do, my answer would be everything. All of it. I would have begged him to go through with the horror of what he was facing – for my sake – and for the sake of everyone I love.
I can’t imagine how it felt for those who knew him then. The people who knew Jesus as he walked the earth must have been so destroyed to watch a man they followed and loved be falsely accused and murdered for only loving, only giving.
I would have shouted – WHERE IS THE JUSTICE? If I was there – then.
If I was there NOW? I would comfort my friends in their mourning, and I would mourn with them the loss of a reality we had come to love. And I would tell them – be patient – You have NO IDEA where this is leading . . .
I would tell them that there is so much more to the story.
And, if they were like me, they would ask, “What about justice?”
And I would say to them: This is about justice. But, God is the only judge who matters. And, the way our God works is to bring Good from the Bad – Life from Death – just watch. And I would tell them that Jesus was in on it.
He knew what he was doing. He walked into suffering because he knew where it was leading.
He knew the story was bigger. He knew that the Great Judge is wise and Good and sent him to endure what we should have had to endure.
And, if I was there, then, I wouldn’t stop him. I would quietly, reverently watch him take my place.
There was a time in my life in which I would have fought – there has to be another way. But, now, I know how much destruction my heart is capable of – how deeply I need a Savior in the truest form.
This Salvation is a gift and I don’t plan to spoil it by trying to demand how it is given.
It is a gift of freedom. And, it is a gift of example.
For our times of suffering. What if, when we are in pain, when the road ahead looks too hard . . . we live as if we are in on it.
We live as if we believe that God is Good. We live as if we believe that God’s view is bigger – tragically bigger.
What if I lived as if I believe that everything I value apart from him is worthless.
When the hardest parts of life come, we just say, “Yep – this is super terrible – but I know God is in it.” Because I’m in on it. I’m in on the end of the story.
When we lose, we believe Jesus meant it when he said:
“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.”
When everything changes, and we have no control, we won’t fear, because we never expected to be in control – because we are in on it – in on the whole God truly leading our lives thing.
Because, I am convinced that where all this is leading . . . is good.