Monday, September 28, 2015

Mourning "in Christ"

Musing About Mourning

Rom 12:1-2 NASB - "1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."

At that point in our lives when we have suffered loss we are called to remember who we are in our relationship with Messiah Jesus in the gospel.  Paul here is asking us to present ourselves to God in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ Jesus and not in our own righteousness (Romans 6). 

We are to know we are acceptable to God because of the death of Christ for us.   In addition the death of our old unbelieving self on the cross with Christ has given us a new identity as the body of Christ.  In Christ we now can come before God the Father in open and celebrative worship.   This vision of the gospel and our life before God fully loved and accepted can give us a safe place to heal from our loss.

Now this vision calls us to not look at life according to the unbelieving secular cultures that surround us.  The unbelieving perspective on our loss is without hope and is cut off from eternity.  To gain this by a transformation of our deepest core beliefs and think God’s gospel thoughts after HIM is only possible with the enlightenment of Holy Spirit.

Now part of this is that we will look at our pain, loss, and agony as part of God’s good, acceptable, and perfect will for our lives within the larger loving plan for our lives which has been purchased at the price of the suffering of the Messiah Jesus.   Only by putting our agony, pain, sorrow, and loss in the context of the gospel can we see it through God’s eyes.  The gospel is the only context in which what we have suffered will ultimately comfort our souls. 

The hardest part of the gospel perspective is that God’s good, acceptable, and perfect will includes suffering, pain, and loss.  This is seen most clearly in the Messiah Jesus who alone perfectly loved the Father and yet suffered more than any person, as part of accomplishing God’s redemptive will.  Since now our lives are “in Christ” our suffering will also be used to bring God’s redemptive kingdom to the earth.  But it will come through blood, sweat, tears, suffering, and loss.  The promise however is that none of our pain will be without gain. 

Prayer:  Lord, I really wish that we did not live “East of Eden” and that redemption did not require your suffering and loss.  Yet, it does.  So now out of this sorrow help me see your purpose and trust your plan.  Allow the gospel to be the pattern of my thoughts and therefore allow me to see my loss within the context of your love and salvation.  Comfort me to know that my suffering is part of your plan and is not wasted or in vain.  Help me see that the suffering of my loved one was not in vain.  Give me the faith to believe that all of this tragedy was needed in order to bring your Kingdom to the earth.  Amen

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