It's easy to praise God when babies are born.
When a loved one dies, it's not so easy.
Not to say that the pain doesn't subside eventually. It does. But in the moment it is devastating, with suffering at every turn.
It's hard to understand a happy clappy response to death. Well-meaning Christians offer pat answers like, "They're in a better place."
True as that may be, we're not in a better place. We are left with the devastation and fallout - kids to feed and to put through school, a mortgage to pay, no life insurance, and a future filled with grief and uncertainty.
Illness, divorce, abuse, parenting challenges, the list goes on and on. All fraught with the same components of suffering. I'm not comparing the death of a loved one with divorce, but I am saying they both bring with them suffering and excruciating pain.
Death deals a painful blow and it is no respecter of persons.
Have you faced the pain and challenge associated with a child in the throes of addiction? Have you encountered debilitating illness with one of your parents? Have you suffered abuse at the hands of another? For all these ways and more, we die. A piece of us dies. Death. We all face it.
No respecter of persons.
We know that Jesus conquered death on the cross. We know that he crushed the head of the serpent and dealt death its final blow. But it's hard to comprehend the devastation that battle brought. Because often, we settle into God's sovereignty. You know, the pillow we can lay our weary heads upon (Spurgeon). We don't realize the violence it involved. We don't see the suffering Servant in all his power.
We forget that when the veil was torn it was not the century who ripped it. It was not the disciples or his mother.
It was the destructive power of God who sees death and reacts violently.
His son's death was painful.
No psalm of praise arose from the cross.
Instead, a cry of surrender resounded amidst unbelief.
My loved one dead?
My marriage ripped apart?
My kid on drugs?
No song of praise.
Only cries of surrender sound forth.
Only lament over the death of dreams and the realities of this hard life.
When God's violent and destructing power breaks in, the darkness trembles, and so do we.
When people say they praise God in the midst of destruction, I'm more likely to believe they are trembling just below the surface. What I have found is that breathing humans shake in the wake of suffering. We may head know God is sovereign. But we heart know that suffering hurts.
Only light in the dark?
The violence of the veil. What looked like destruction, was indeed that. The destruction of death. Not just physical death. But our pain too. Light broke through. A ray shone forth.
On those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.
...don't be afraid.
Shake and tremble in the Light.