A Tale of Suffering Retold
When we find ourselves face to face with the deepest loss a human can imagine, where do we turn? Is there anyone or anything that can give us answers? Is there any balm that can soothe the anguish of a soul?
The Christian ought to shout emphatically, “YES!”.
We have 66 books which point us to the grand narrative in God’s word.
From God’s creation, man’s rebellion, Jesus’ redemption and the promise of the reconciliation of all things, we have this hope amidst a torrent of chaos.
Answers to life’s most pressing questions belong to a Christian as found in God’s word.
The Creation account in Genesis 1 sets our stage .
We see God in His triune self creating all things good; sky, land, trees and many kinds of animals.
Mankind’s formation was set apart from the rest of what God had made previously, and was unlike anything else God had created.
When God made man, He breathed His breath into him, creating him in God’s very own image.
Scholars refer to this as the Imago Dei.
The narration moves swiftly, within the first few chapters of Genesis we learn that this perfectly formed man (and subsequently the wife that God had intricately fashioned for and from him) went from perfect communion with their Creator into a dark and lethal rebellion against him.
Treason and treachery are now the new state of mankind, a far cry from the dominion and wisdom that had been promised to them by the wiles of the serpent.
Everything had been fractured, the chasm that sin created was so vast, so pervasive that even the Earth received a curse from its Creator. The stench of death loomed in the air, God had to kill an animal to cover the nakedness of His mutinous mankind.
Thus begins the bloodshed and death.
God has an indictment on this rebellion. It cannot go unnoticed.
He certainly had a chastening for Adam and Eve, placing curses upon them and their seed.
All people who would come after them would face this same affliction, for they would be born into Adam (Romans 5:12).
It is however, in the Serpent’s censure that we see the slightest glimmer of hope and the promise of future reconciliation .
The Lord God said to the serpent,“Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:14-15
You may ask, “how does a dusty, old curse saddled to a serpent over 6,000 years ago help me walk through the grief I am going through right now?”.
The answer to that question is one which every Christian ought to boast in having: It is the Gospel.
When God proclaimed that woman would one day give birth to a son who would ultimately and finally crush the head of her enemy, He was foretelling of Jesus.
Jesus crushed the head of His enemy, won the victory and received the nations when he conquered sin and rose from the grave.
Through Jesus’ blood sacrifice, we can now be covered and washed from the curse of death which loomed over us.
He is the second Adam, the better Adam.
Being born anew into His family offers us a certain hope for the next life, but it also offers comfort and peace in the current one.
For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross (Colossians 1:19-20).
This verse doesn’t mean that our lives once surrendered to God will be without incident. It doesn’t mean that trials and suffering won’t come for us. On the contrary, Jesus told us that we would face many trials (John 16:33) and so does the Apostle Paul (Philippians 1:29).
We must remember back to the grand narrative of scripture; the creation, fall, redemption and the promise of the reconciliation of all things.
Our pain and suffering is temporal, the trials we face are momentary. In those precious moments of deep despair, we must remember the promise of the cross. God is restoring everything back to how He intended it before we rebelled against Him.
This is our Hope, this is our comfort.
We are not left to wallow in a whirlpool of anguish. God became a man, The God-man, Jesus Christ.
Jesus acts out perfect obedience and submission and becomes a sacrifice for our rebellion. Jesus experienced immense suffering, successfully removing the curse of death that was placed upon us through the disobedience of our first father Adam.
Jesus rose victorious from the grave, having regained the title deed to the nations.
In response to that gospel message, our heart testifies to this good news. After all, our hearts were miraculously regenerated, and so it will be for the rest of our body when Jesus’ restoration project is brought to completion.
What a glorious hope we have. Let us share this hope with a sin-weary world.
We have the answers to what plagues humanity. We alone have the good news that can regenerate the hearer upon its proclamation.
The ministry of reconciliation is one that all Christians are called to (2 Corinthians 5:18-20).
No matter the trial or how deep the channels of sorrow, may we always be sure to tell of the hope that lies within us. The Hope of Jesus making all things new.