First, I strongly recommend listening to the Mother’s Day talk that Elizabeth mentioned yesterday. It was both entertaining and profound. And hearing Lisa talk about Elizabeth as a little girl gives some background into her leadership and vision today. She was a mover and a shaker at 5 years old (albeit a bossy one), and the Lord has developed those gifts as she serves him today.
I was rather hoping to finish up with the storms and suffering topic, at least in my personal devotional time. But only God’s timing is perfect. Driving around running errands yesterday I put on a sermon from Mars Hill Church in Seattle. I accidentally left the iPod on for a couple hours while I was at home and upon leaving again there was another sermon playing on Luke 7:11-17, about Jesus raising a widow’s son. The sermon snapshot from the website says:
“Jesus finds wrecked people. He pursues people who don’t ask for him and comforts people who don’t seek him. Jesus literally reaches into death and brings life, both for the dead son of the widow and for all Jesus’ people. Dead people do nothing to participate in their healing; it is solely a gift of grace. Jesus is an even greater risen son who conquered death for all the children of God.”
If you have 30 minutes or so this weekend, I recommend listening to the sermon. As we have experienced, suffering is an emotionally heavy topic, but it is one we cannot ignore. The pastor, Mark Driscoll, reviewed a lot of what we have looked at in the past several days. Suffering is an inevitability, but so is the final victory in Christ. The rainbow appears after the storms. We are called to suffer and weep as the widow did, to surround and support each other as her community did. We cannot hurry through the tough times. Mourn with those who mourn, but trust that resurrection is coming and the Greater Son is coming. He reaches down into death and has life.
We have so much to look forward to. Without jumping ahead of our struggles, we can still be encouraged by the promise of eternal life with our Lord. Reading Psalm 98 this morning was a snapshot of what kind of party God will throw when all this earthly suffering has concluded.
Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.
The LORD has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to the house of Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music;
make music to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and the sound of singing,
with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
shout for joy before the LORD, the King.
Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands, Let the mountains sing together for joy;
let them sing before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity.
Heavenly Father, I pray that I can live and love at your pace, in suffering and rejoicing. May I remember the joy and peace that I am promised, and seek you in every circumstance. Thank you, Jesus, for your sacrifice and ultimate suffering. You have endured unimaginable pain and the greatest injustice for me. Even when no one else can relate to my heartache, you are there. You know me and you love me. Your thoughts and ways are higher than mine. You are in control. You have conquered death. You already won the battle!