good, evil, and meaning

Category : CS Lewis, God, different, failure, faith, hope

  

“Evil can be undone, but it can not ‘develop’ into good.  Time does not heal it.”       – CS Lewis, The Great Divorce

The truth is, not even God changes evil into good.  Once something happens it can’t be taken back.  Instead, he changes the meaning of evil. 

2,000 years ago we did the worst evil possible – we killed a man who had never done anything wrong.  A man who had never sinned.  If anyone deserved to live, certainly it was him.  Yet we crucified him.  That was evil, and will always be evil. 

Instead, God changed the meaning of his death.  Instead of being the end of his life, Jesus crucifixion was the beginning of our life.  Out of man’s greatest evil came God’s great good. 

The same is often true of our suffering.

Think about the most important lessons you have ever learned.  Did you learn them when everything was perfect and happy?  Or did you learn them when your marriage ended?  When your child died?  Or as you struggled with illness?

It’s almost always in the moments of our greatest pain and suffering that we learn the most.  God doesn’t slowly move evil into something good – we still suffer, we still struggle.  But he does change the meaning, and in turn, our understanding.

That’s the radical, revolutionary, and different God.  That’s the God of the Bible.

the end game

Category : God, different, fear, hope, live for the eternal

       

Sometimes life throws you unexpected twists.  And it’s been my experience that these not only show up unexpectedly, but right after you have everything planned.  For me one of those twists was a sudden and overwhelming fear of blogging.  Perhaps I’m the first case of blogophobia.

I hope they’ll name it after me.

Ok, so maybe it wasn’t really a fear of blogging.  But I had a sudden realization that “holy cow there are people reading my blog!”  And yes, I occasionally use words like “holy cow.”  As R3 has gained popularity, I’ve had to deal with what that means. 

It’s not easy, and it probably never will be easy, for me to sit here and talk about how God has changed me.  It makes me feel vulnerable.  It makes me miss the anonymity of the internet.  Plus, who wants to look like an idiot? 

Funny how these things never come up when you are planning!

But as I’ve pondered this issue, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s something more important than looking like an idiot in front of strangers: it’s what we do with our lives.

We’re given one shot.  And during that time God calls us to make a difference.  He calls on us to literally change the world.  So despite my hesitations I press onward.  It’s not bravery, or overcoming fear, or something like that.  I simply want God to be part of my life more than I care to have my privacy. 

But this isn’t really about blogging.  It’s about so much more! 

It’s about how we live our lives. 

It’s about the purpose of our lives.

I want to live my life looking forward, advancing the Kingdom in bold ways.  And that means always reminding myself that while I may look like an idiot today, what counts is down the road.  And if me looking like an idiot is what makes God “click” for them, than I’m all in favor of looking like one.

When I die, which hopefully will be many years away, I want to look back on my life and see the impact I made.  But not just in their worldly lives.  I want to say I made a difference in someone’s eternal future.

And when I meet them again, after death, I look forward to that knowing nod between two friends.

sneezing and the cross

Category : God, barbarian, radical

   

I’ve been fighting a nasty cold the last few days (hence the irregular updates for R3).  As I’ve been shuffling along with my achy muscles, taking medicine, and generally being miserable, I began to think about the cross.

That may sound like a strange train of thought, but bear with me for a moment.  Sometimes I have a tendency to gloss over what Jesus did for me.  “Yeah, yeah” I want to say, “I know he died for my sins.”  But, man, that’s such an understatement!  He didn’t just die – he died in a way that is possibly the most vicious method man has invented to kill someone.  God chose to die a painful, humiliating (crucification was for criminals), and slow death.  Just so we could be saved.

That’s all pretty shocking to think about, and it makes me a little uncomfortable.  Especially because I get pretty grumpy when I’m sick.  I tend to snap, and be rude towards people who are just trying to help me.  I tell myself that I’m not a ‘people person’ when I’m sick.  As if that somehow justifies my behavior.

So each time I’ve reached for my medicine I’ve been reminded that God suffered for me (and you).  And he did it without Tylenol.  The bottom line is my suffering is nothing compared to what he went through.  I don’t have much excuse for being mean while I’m sick if I want to follow the example God set.  If God loved us so much that he sacrificed his own son, then I can at least smile at people when I’m at the store picking up more Kleenex.

I believe God can use any circumstance to teach us something.  For me I now have a better appreciation for what God did for me.  So now, instead of being sick, I find I’m also grateful.  Grateful for God’s salvation, and grateful for modern chemistry!