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tragedy

All Things

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He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

All things.

I used to think this meant that God would give me things I want. He already gave me Jesus. He won’t withhold anything else. But if you read a little further, you find out what things Paul has in mind:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

Trouble? Hardship? Persecution? Why would a loving Father give me that? But wait. He didn’t spare his own Son. Why would he spare me? Did Jesus have trouble? Check. Hardship? Check. Persecution? Check. Yet Jesus remained so secure in his Father’s love that he could face all those things. He even faced something we do not have to face: God’s rejection.

My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me? (Matt 27:46)

But to us he says:

Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you. (Heb 13:5)

So our loving Father graciously gives us all things—trouble, hardship, persecution—along with Jesus. Because it turns out that life always comes at us with trouble, doesn’t it? We have accidents. We lose jobs. Friends and loved ones die. But now we regard all these things as gifts graciously given by God, who assures us of his surpassing love by giving Jesus too.

How tempting it is to think when trouble comes that God hates us or is displeased with us or at least doesn’t care about us. Then we remember Jesus, and the sacrifice God made for us to demonstrate the incomparable greatness of his love for us. This, too, comes from (or was allowed by) my loving Father, the same Father who showed how great his love is by sending Jesus. I am sad. My soul is downcast. I grieve. And yet….

In the midst of my pain, I know he loves me. While grieving, I remember his goodness. Though I do not understand, I trust.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

All scriptures taken from Romans 8 (NIV) unless otherwise noted.

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Doggone Blog

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I accidentally deleted my blog. Horrors! I started to re-create it, but then I thought, “What’s the point?” Let’s just move on. Here’s what happened. May it serve as a cautionary tale to others. I created a new blog yesterday thinking I might use it to write from a somewhat different perspective. Then I changed my mind. So I decided to delete it. Somehow, I selected the wrong blog to delete. I didn’t know what I had done until I returned to the list of my blogs and saw my most precious blog—gone! and the one I wanted to delete—still there! Aughh!

I’m sure with therapy I’ll be all right. I still have all my posts, and I may put them somewhere some day. For now they’ll just sit in my newsreader.

Thanks for reading.

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Jesus Weeps

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Jesus wept at the grave of his friend, Lazarus. Those who were present thought he wept for Lazarus’ death. But how could that be so since he knew he was about to restore Lazarus to life? What was it that made Jesus weep?

I’m not sure what it was, though I have some ideas.

Actor Heath Ledger died recently. He was only 28. As is bound to happen in our celebrity-obsessed culture, his untimely death has become round-the-clock news. I feel a touch of vertigo when I consider the unknown but no less loved men, women, and children who die every day—some from malnutrition, some from preventable disease, some from violence and war. All untimely deaths are tragic, and I am glad, really, that I don’t have to read or know about them all. I would be overwhelmed by death.

Still, Mr. Ledger’s death is likewise tragic. Even if Jesus welcomed him into heaven, it is tragic for the family and friends he has left behind. I think Jesus would weep with them for their grief, for their loss. He would want to comfort and encourage them, show them kindness and love, send them flowers and bake them cookies, eat with them, grieve with them, weep with them.

Not so some who have taken his name. Members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, plan to picket Mr. Ledger’s funeral. They plan to spread hatred and lies in Jesus’ name. They plan to disdain the grief of Mr. Ledger’s family and friends, denounce his life, and callously make use of his death as an occasion for furthering their own perverse agenda. Nothing could be further from the love of Jesus Christ.

Let no one dare consider their actions Christian; they are wicked and hypocritical. By their actions, they exchange the glory of the one they call their Lord for fleeting infamy and self-martyrdom. Jesus spoke of such people when he said, “They have their reward.” Perhaps for them, too, he weeps.

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