“Grace Amidst the Chaos”
World War I formally ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when Germany signed the Armistice. As a result, Veterans Day is observed each year on November 11, a holiday honoring all military veterans.
In a tragic reminder of the price our military pays to defend us, the Associated Press is reported recently that divers found the body of one of two American soldiers missing since last week in Afghanistan. They were attempting to retrieve airdropped supplies that fell into a river when they were swept away by the current. The second soldier has not been found.
If God is all-loving and all-powerful, why is our world so broken?
Scripture says: "Jesus wept." He proved his compassion by his Christmas incarnation. He was the only baby who chose his parents and place of birth, and he chose peasants in a cave. If he would be born there, he would be born again in your heart and mine.
This is not a God the world knows. Muslims have a God of legalistic enforcement but not a weeping heart. Buddhists and Hindus have no category for a personal, suffering God. Most Americans think that God helps those who help themselves. Honestly, do you picture the Lord of the universe with tears in his eyes?
And tears in his heart? God's word says, "We do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin" (Hebrews 4:15).
I know it seems nonsensical to say that Jesus faced every temptation we do. The first century didn't have marijuana, or sexually explicit movies or web sites. But sins in principle have not changed, just their expression. Substance abuse, sexual temptation, integrity issues and moral failures were just as real then as today.
Jesus faced them all, and more than we do. The longer you withstand a temptation, the harder and more subtle it becomes. If you won't embezzle funds at work, perhaps you'll shade an expense report or tax deduction. Because he never sinned, Jesus faced sin and temptation we know nothing about.
And so he knows your temptations, your pain, your suffering, your disappointments, your problems and questions and dilemmas. He knows them better than you do. He sees them with the infinite insight only possessed by God himself. He knows your hurting heart. And he weeps.
Why do we need a God of such empathy today? What temptations or trials are you battling? Name them, and give them intentionally to Jesus. Tell him that you are placing your problem in his hands. Know that "nothing is impossible with God" (Luke 1:37). Claim the biblical fact: "greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world" (1 John 4:4). Rejoice in the truth that you can "do all things through Christ who gives you strength" (Philippians 4:13).
Some scientists believe that it takes light 156 billion years to cross the universe. Scripture says that God measures all of that in the palm of his hand (Isaiah 40:12). Now, what's your problem?