“Much learning earns you much trouble.
The more you know, the more you hurt.”
~Ecclesiastes 1:18 (Msg).
The Quester, as Eugene Peterson describes him, is the teacher of wisdom in Ecclesiastes and there is something very, very real about what he teaches. Despite some spiritual persons proclaiming their continual bark “Victory in Jesus’ name, yeah!” and “Praise the Lord!” we somehow know that this is not the life at all that Jesus identifies with.
Jesus is realer than that.
This Jesus who was persecuted all his life somehow knows the pains of life even more so than we do; it was not all “Praise the Lord!” for him. In fact, comparatively rarely was he given to such exaltation.
Dealing with a Life That’s Marked: “Calamity”
To the poor spiritual soul who has to put on their ‘church face’ to pretend they’re “Christian”—and full of the Lord’s hope, joy and peace—there’s a big incongruence with how their lives are really turning out.
No wonder they sense the church’s hypocrisy.
There are a lot of reminders of brokenness and dysfunction in the lives of these; most of us... no, all of us—without generalisation. Indeed, it’s our recognition of the hopelessness of our situation that most appeals to authenticity. That’s the real us; not Mr. or Mrs. Facko.
A good question is, does this make us poorer or disobedient Christians as we admit to having just as pointless a life as a non-believer might have, who doesn’t have the hope of Jesus in their lives?
Being Honest – This Life Hurts In
A good question the above one may be, and it’s not a good question because it requires or engenders a lot of thought. It actually has a remarkably simple answer.
It is answered in the resounding negative.
The name “Jesus” could otherwise spell “R-E-L-I-E-F” because this Lord of Glory is just that; he’s not Relief for the pretender, but for the real person—that person wrapped up in a world, occasionally or often, in and of chaotic torment.
God is no good to us unless he relates with reality and assists us to live in this oft-messy world. Fortunately for all of us, God knows life is a cross-like reality most often. By that I mean God’s never less intimately aware of our sticky and frustrating lives than we are.
This is precisely why we’re reminded to follow the Spirit’s gospel plan—the only way life works at all is by way of picking up our crosses and bearing them honestly, purposefully, humbly. And, in that, God goes with us, and before us, paving our way... but not in our lying about our circumstances by painting over the ugly parts with some veneer that washes off at the first sign of truth.
This sort of incongruent lie is sin, nothing plainer.
This, for most of us, is the only way we make sense of a hurting life. In this “mess” is the “victory,” not because of the world, but despite it, in Jesus’ exemplary name!
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.