What is sometimes so hard for us to grasp – is how Jesus thinks of us. Sometimes that’s hard for us because of the bruises from the religious people we’ve known. And, honestly, the super-religious people who harassed Jesus and finally had him killed are still around doing the same old things that religious bullies always have: bruising people! Snuffing out candles that are barely lit. And it’s not just religious bullies who do that – all bullies do. They’re inspired by the master bully – and liar – the Devil. At His core – Jesus was gentle. He never walked into a room and stomped on people who were struggling. He once said that He was meek and gentle of heart. That carries an amazing thought; that the One who created everything – and the model leader we are called to emulate is meek. And that’s what makes Him the most astounding person who’s ever lived!
We’d like to be able to truthfully sing the little song we learn as kids; Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me! That sounds very brave, but it’s simply not true. Words do hurt us! Every one of us has voices from that past – and maybe even the present. Someone was trying to change us from the outside in and when it seemed like we weren’t listening or cooperating – they lobbed a verbal grenade over the wall. We pretended we were okay – but their voice still reverberates in our soul. Their works, their voice changed – hurt – damaged how we feel about ourselves. To recover, to see ourselves through God’s eyes, there’s a question we need to ask. Was it true? Was it right? What does GOD think?
Our lives could be described as a series of intersections. The intersection where we were conceived by our Mom and Dad; the day we were born, the day we were weaned, potty trained, went to nursery school – then JK and SK – and our intersection with learning, with university, with all the people who made a difference in our lives – the list of intersections goes on and on. Most of the books of the Bible are stories of intersections – people intersecting one another, God, and both good things and bad things. And Jesus’ story as told by the Gospels is really a collection of intersections. The people whose lives intersected with Jesus were changed forever; some for better – and some for worse. What is inevitable is that we will go through a number of intersections in our lives. We’ll get clobbered at some of them, broken by others. When God’s grace is allowed into these spaces, what seems like a trainwreck can be totally redemptive!
One of the top five questions about God and His existence in our world goes something like this: If God is good – as Christians describe Him – why is their pain and suffering? And that’s a profound question that many people struggle with. Some to the point that it derails their faith and they become either atheists or agnostics. Surprisingly, some of the best-known people in the Bible had to wrestle this one down. Even Jesus, the Son of God, the only perfect person who ever lived, came face to face with it. The answer He lived out but never actually commented on is astonishing!
Things change. They do. Sometimes they change because of us… and sometimes they change despite us. When massive changes like we’ve experienced take place, it’s a very helpless feeling. And how we deal with all the changes – and there are a ton of them – either sets us up for the future or frustrates our future – or even wrecks our future. We honestly have a choice in it all – and how we make that choice really matters. God can help us move in the right directions – if we let Him!