Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Run for your life, they are chasing you!

My first thought when I knew what we were going to write about this week was oh good, something "easy." Then I thought again. I'm a walking encyclopedia of old hymns and gospel songs. Thinking about Jesus and me triggered a song. The chorus goes like this:
Now it is Jesus and me for each tomorrow,
For every heartache and every sorrow;
I know that I can depend upon my new found friend,
And so to the end it's Jesus and me.
That led to a medley of songs including What a Friend We Have in Jesus. Seems we always think of Jesus being with us through some dark time. Sometimes it takes a long time to find him in the dark.
Being a preacher, I thought about a sermon I recently preached on Psalm 23. It's hard to preach on those passages we know the best. Everyone thinks they know all about it. I got a little long winded on the front end of the sermon so I didn't get to say as much about the last verse, the one about goodness and mercy. I wanted to really drive home that the correct understanding of the Hebrew is that it isn't that they follow you, it is that they chase after you. What an image, goodness and mercy chasing you!

Goodness and mercy, that sounds like Jesus. Sounds like it isn't just that we follow Jesus. He chases after us. In other words, He never abandons us. Regardless of what's happening in life, goodness and mercy are still chasing us.

I have lots of stories about Jesus showing up. I've told about Jesus showing up by miraculously sending someone to my door to provide food for us. I have a lot of stories like that one. The one that came to mind for today is long. I can't tell it in its entirety here.

You can read more details about the beginning of it here. I am like countless other people who have suffered under the hands of a pedophile. We read a lot about it now. When I was a child, it was kept secret.

For most of my life, I was unaware of the effects this had on my life. Like with any devastation that needs healing, first you have to have a diagnosis. As God miraculously began the healing process I got to the place where I wanted to know just where Jesus was when I was 8 years old.

I've never been much of a blame God type of person. However, I wondered. Where was Jesus? Countless people through the ages have asked the same question. Just where is this Jesus when everything falls apart, when death comes, when people misuse you, etc. The reasons we might ask where Jesus is are as many as the people who have ever walked the face of the earth.

I had heard that some women I knew, who like me, had been abused had asked the same question. They said they had an answer. They said they wouldn't tell it because each person had to hear an answer for themselves. Nonetheless, they also said that after they had their answer they told each other. They had heard the same thing.

I asked the question. I asked Jesus, where were you when I was 8? I waited for my answer. I finally got one. Jesus said He was there. He said I was standing in that doorway with you. I was weeping for you. I was interceding for your life and the healing I am now bringing to you. I was there. I saw it.

I know this raises all sorts of theological questions. We could go on forever asking why didn't He stop it. I don't know that answer. I do know that Jesus was there. I know He was there feeling the deepness of my pain. I also found out it was the same answer He gave those other women too. Jesus is always there. Goodness and mercy chased after me from that day forward. Eventually healing would come as I stopped long enough to let them overtake me.

Shortly after that, while receiving communion I thought about Jesus taking away the sins of the world. I though about my own sin, but that day I also thought about the sin of my abuser. His sin, not mine, had left deep wounds and scars. Jesus died for the wounds and scars that my abusers sins had left on me. Jesus died for your sins but also for the effects of someone else's sin on your life. That's pretty awesome.

I wanted to tell you about Jesus exploding in my life on some majestic hillside. I really wanted to tell you some happy story. But this is a happy story. Life is very hard. Life sucks much of the time. Injustice flourishes. Knowing that Jesus is always there, that His goodness and mercy are chasing after us is wonderful news. It is good news. It is the gospel.


Tracy said...

Yes it is the good news.

You're right, sometimes life sucks. Yucky stuff happens to most of us, or at least to someone we care about. Like you, I can't really speak to why God lets bad stuff happen (we can both speak to how Satan is the prince of the air, that Jesus hasn't returned yet, that there is sin and free will...but none of these really answer the question), but I too rejoice in the fact that God is there, the He does love us, that He does bring healing, that He even brings good things out of the bad things.

David-FireAndGrace said...

No one knows the pain and suffering of an abused child until you've been there.

I just thank God that He uses all things for the good of those that love Him, that He is faithful, He heals and that we will one day be with Him. The rest is very painful sometimes.

photogr said...

I know one thing for sure. No matter what happens to me while I am here on earth, it cannot compare to the rewards that are waiting in heaven if I would only have faith in Him as my saviour.

Living in the flesh is only temporary although we are subjected to injustices, abuses, and hell while in the flesh.

I would like to think we might be more appreciative of the heavenly part when that day comes.

Considering the suffering Jesus went through at the cross for our sins, our own personal sufferings may only be minor in His view considering what He has promised us for eternity.