Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Created to Crave: Part 15

Jesus is the Light

The presence of evil in the world makes all of us pause and consider the purpose of life.  If there is no bigger purpose and if there is no reason for our creation then the evil around us the pain of life renders life meaningless.  That is why our souls cry out: "What is the purpose of life?"

One day Jesus and his disciples ran into a man who was born blind and this encounter prompted the disciples to ask Jesus a question: "Who sinned, this man or his parents?" Jesus’ answer to the disciples’ question helps us make sense of this world.  How does his answer help us?

1. First it tells us what type of world we live in.
By implying that He is the light of the world and that it is day while he is on the earth means that without him the world is a dark place.  We know that to be the case.  From the terrible tragedy we read about on the news to the sickness of a loved one to some secret personal tragedy we have constant reminders that this world not what it should be.  God uses pain and suffering to remind us that this world isn’t our home.  Sin and evil have broken this world and dimmed the light of God’s love.

In our search for meaning we have to have keep this reality at the forefront of our minds.  Yes, God created a world that was good, but sin has ruined that goodness, and now we are living life awaiting for the time when God makes all things new, when we can live life the way it is supposed to be lived.

 The Apostle Paul reminds of this truth in Romans 8:18-22:
Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God's curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God's children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time (NLT).
Not only do our cravings point us to heaven, but our pain and sufferings do as well.  As we try to make sense of this life let’s remember that evil has destroyed what God has created and one day God will make everything right.  Only faith in Jesus will get us from here to there.

2. Jesus also tells us that these tragedies are opportunities for us to love  (John 9:3).
I think an important distinction needs to be made at this point.  God doesn’t cause the tragedies, for example He doesn’t create people who are blind, but He allows these things to happen based on the physical criteria He has established (i.e. lack of vitamins and prenatal care can result in blindness).

God allows these things to happen for at least two reasons.  To help the person who they happen to to learn to trust God.  I think all of us can realize that it was in the depths of despair that we finally truly surrendered to God.

But more important for us today, and the way Jesus used this tragedy, is to give us an opportunity to live out our faith in love.  We can’t help everyone, not even Jesus did that, but He did take the time to help people when He could.  Those times our hearts are broken by a need or a tragedy are the times the Holy Spirit is calling us to do something about the suffering we see around us.

This is what the apostle Paul came to realize:
Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. 
  Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God (Ephesians 4:32-5:2; NLT).

When we are compassionate we stop looking for answers about suffering and we start doing something about the suffering that we encounter.  This is how we begin to usher God's Kingdom into this world.

Life has a way of turning our live upside down.  There are times in our lives when life just doesn’t make sense.  Suffering can cause us to conclude that life is meaningless.  But Jesus comes to us in the midst of a harsh and hurting world and says that He is the light.   Jesus wants to help us discover meaning in life.  This is what I want you to remember today: Jesus enlightens us!  He helps us understand the purpose of life, explains why the world is the way it is, and gives us a reason to hope for the future.

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