Monday, March 17, 2003
Hope everyone had a wonderful, restful and thoughtful weekend. For me, it was a long one - even though my golf plans got scratched, I had lots of free time to rest and recharge. And in the midst of it, I've got two conflicting and complementing thought-lines on God: seeing His wonderful goodness, against the need for and embracing of suffering.
No one is like you, O LORD; you are great, and your name is mighty in power. Who should not revere you, O King of the nations? This is your due. Among all the wise men of the nations and in all their kingdoms, there is no one like you.
- Jeremiah 10:6-7 NIV
I could never myself believe in God, if it were not for the cross. The only God I believe in is the one Nietzsche ridiculed as "God on the Cross." In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it? I have entered many Buddhist temples and stood respectfully before the statue of Buddha, his legs crossed, arms folded, eyes closed, the ghost of a smile playing round his mouth, a remote look on his face, detached from the agonies of the world. But each time after a while I have had to turn away. And in imagination I have turned instead to that lonely, twisted, tortured figure on the cross, nails through hands and feet, back lacerated, limbs wrenched, brow bleeding from thorn-pricks, mouth dry and intolerably thirsty, plunged in God-forsaken darkness. That is the God for me! He laid aside his immunity to pain. He entered our world of flesh and blood, tears and death. He suffered for us.
- John Stott, GOD ON THE CROSS
... and even as He suffered, we are called to suffer, to bear up under trials in order to be purified and to grow into Christ-likeness (James 1:12, for one). This God who is so much more has stooped infinitely low to suffer, and allows us to do the same in order to reach such soaring heights... Causes me to stop and think and say, "whoa."