Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Ministry of the Cross for the Suffering

“In the darkest night of our soul, we have something to hold on to that Job never knew. We know Christ crucified. Christians have learned that when there seems to be no other evidence of God’s love, they cannot escape the cross.”
— D.A. Carson
REMANDED in the state of perplexed confusion – a sort of rallying numbness, and a pain poignantly unknown and palpably indescribable – we wonder quite how life could be dissolved into this: a graceless wasteland of the soul pinging without purpose, residing in an abiding anxiousness.
The Journey Inward
Having traipsed that tremulous track into the inglorious unknown of suffering – that contorted dark night – we knew a certain gathering that occurred within ourselves; but only, as it happened, after we were released from that period of pain.
We came to know this as the journey inward, knowing now that that journey inward was necessary before a new living and vibrant life identity could be explored or even established. It was the journey inward that gave us the answers we needed to stride afresh into a confident new day.
The Journey Outward
A confident new day is seasoned in an acceptance of things as they are; as they have become; as they will be from now on.
The journey outward is faith, but it is a beautiful adventure of the spirit involved with captivating vivacity with the Spirit of the living God.
The journey outward was anointed by the ministry of the cross; God’s love through Christ our Lord that is now eternally expressed and purposed and meaningful in the very mode of suffering.
That Ministry of Christ’s Love Expressed in the Cross
Heaven bound we eternally were – as we gather around the knowledge of Christ’s cross as an anthem for God’s love in a symphony of praise to God on High.
This cross speaks to us not only about his suffering, but about ours as well. It speaks to us about love and hope and grace; the sacrifice of love that is a dear treasure to cling to in the darkest minute and day. This cross is a spectacle, eternally portrayed, and a light to the world beckoning in the darkest part; the darkest part of life. This cross is excellence in the confusion; an answer in the mystery; a blessed release from considered condemnation. It is everything it ever could be, even in the unacceptability of suffering. It is nothing of the hopelessness that Job knew in his despairing with his three ‘friends’. The cross is something where previously there really was nothing.
The ministry of the cross is foreboding in the sense of anything the world could send our way. But it only works as we reflect upon Christ’s blood-spilt and bodily-torn glory.
We must keep the cross ever before us. To be reminded of God’s empathy in the midst of our own suffering. To know the price God was willing without compromise to pay. To wallow as we will before him who redeems us even in his own suffering.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

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