Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Grief Embraced

I am a bit of a romantic.  By that, I don't mean the sort of person that watches endless Sleepless in Seattle or The Notebook reruns, but I mean the type of person with big dreams and big desires.

I struggle to celebrate the little things, and I often fall short of encouraging and uplifting everyday service and sacrifice.  This is to my shame.  Yet, I struggle with these things not because I do not value them, but because in the depths of my being I yearn for more -- and bigger -- and greater.

I want to see God blow the doors off college campuses with His grace.  I want to watch as the love of Christ brings a city literally to its knees in prayer and appreciation for his goodness.

One of the difficult things we've had to sort through over the past twelve months is the reality of our broken dreams.

God, it seems, works at his own pace, and on his own timetable.  I know this is common head knowledge, but I'm not sure it was heart knowledge for me.  He is mysterious.  "He is not," as Lewis describes Aslan in the Chronicles of Narnia "a tame lion."

This has brought us face to face with grief.  The reason I feel like our broken dreams are something to grieve is because I believe wholeheartedly that they are something that God himself grieves.  He does not grieve that we did not get or see what we wanted, but rather that His dreams have been thwarted as well.  He is heartbroken that college students worldwide have not come to know him personally.  He is sad at the state of brokenness and decay in large portions of South America.  His love brings about his grief.

"There will be a new morning… and we look forward to that."

"The cross and the kingdom go together."

"When bad and sad things happen, as they do… those awful things can be held lovingly and wisely within the embrace of the God of whom we speak when we tell that story."

Wright says those three things in the above video and they sum up my grieving as well as anything.

Kingdom and cross must absolutely and never be separated.  Kingdom without cross can tend to a happy-go-lucky, carefree spirituality that is drastically different than traditional christianity.  Cross without kingdom can tend to a horrible, masochistic, pride awakening burden.  But together they form a beautiful gospel.

First, Jesus has initiated the kingdom of God.  God reigns.  A new way of being human is presented -- a way of peace and love and mercy and humility.  God's reign means the hurting and broken will be brought into the loving embrace of the king.

And yet, the way of that king was a way of sacrifice.  The people of the initiated kingdom are people so awakened by the love and delight of king that they move sacrificially to alert others.

It's a beautiful thing that on the cross -- the place of devastation and despair, pain and misery -- we find a place for our grief as well.  There we find hope, and meaning, for our grief.  There we find counsel, and the tenderness of the king.

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