Biblical Scholar, NT Wright, has reminded us at this time that Christianity doesn’t just give us “nice, neat answers” to all of life’s catastrophes. A major theme in the Bible, particularly in the Psalms – the Bible’s prayer book – is one of lament. That is, a crying out to God in our suffering that seems to remain unanswered. That’s a hard place to be!
We don’t get a “neat answer”, but we do get a God who takes the world’s lament on His own lips – “My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?” (Mt 27:46) It’s not a matter of us in pain, and God quarantined from this, comfortable, at the far end of heaven. In His Son, Jesus Christ, God Himself enters into our illness, suffering and lament, and that of the world.
Why?… because that’s how much He loves us! Ultimately God did this to heal us, and turn our sorrow into rejoicing, but only by Him entering into our suffering do we know what His love really is. In our lament we discover that this love is the one thing that truly satisfies us, now, and which lasts forever!(1Cor 13:13). The love of God the Father is what sustained Jesus Christ the Son through His unanswered suffering; it is that same love that will hold and keep us through ours.
The way that we live out and experience this love of God is by being with those who are suffering, and loving and helping them. That includes our world that is in the grip of a pandemic! That’s not easy in this time of social distancing! But it is possible, through the many wonderful ways that we can stay in personal contact via technology, by assisting people to find practical help, and foremostly by prayer.
Grace on Christ, Jonathan