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Tuesday Thoughts 7-24-18

What a wonderful, restful, filling week family camp was!  There’s exciting news about what God is doing in the Middle East and the camp speaker led everyone in examining the rhythms of life in Christ.  I saw a bunch of familiar faces and spent evening worship services surrounded by a few hundred other followers singing, praying, praising and learning more about Jesus.  But in the middle of the swirling, joyful throng of people were times of solitary, personal reflection and waiting.  The discipline of silent solitude is definitely worth cultivating!  But being alone can be a dreadful thing too.  When you need a voice and there is none, or need an ear and nobody is listening, we feel vulnerable and weak (and much worse things).  And if it isn’t bad enough that people, who we know are imperfect, fail us, there are times when we feel God has disappeared.  Join me in admitting that even though we know the fact of His presence, there are times we cry out, “where are you?”  I’m not trying to say it’s wrong to cry that out.  Some of the Bible’s most powerful followers had times when they echoed these same words.  This world of clashing kingdoms will bring us to that place from time to time.  What I hope to bring today is fuel to move us more quickly through those moments of desperation. As I was reading this morning, the Holy Spirit tapped me on the shoulder about this subject in the New Testament book named Romans.  I highly recommend that you take a slow and deliberate journey through this letter from Paul to followers of Jesus in Rome.  It lays out so clearly the trouble of sin and its defeat provided by the blood of our Savior, the Son of God.  But in chapter eight I read again (for the umpteenth time) these two little verses, “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:31–32 (NIV84).  Even for the first-time reader it seems pretty clear that Paul is reminding us of how well we are taken care of (and we could talk a long time about that subject).  But this time, the Spirit linked these words to our sense of aloneness.  That God did not spare His Son means that the Son was subjected to things so that we could be spared from them.  Those things make up an impressive list, but what came to mind was the desperate cry of Christ on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46b (NIV84).  Since Jesus is not a liar but is absolutely holy, we know this moment to be a truthful, terrible, tearing of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).  Just this once, one person was truly separated from the presence of God, and it was the Son of God.  But because this happened (yes, I know, there is something mind-bending and incomprehensible about it), it can never happen to you or me!  The separation that is the natural consequence of sin was lived out for us by the One through whom, and by whom we were created.  Truly, “It is finished!”  (John 19:30).  So when the sense of abandonment overcomes, come back to Paul’s words.  He’s right here!  A note at the end:  There is a separation coming at the end of all things (or of your thing).  Those who do not follow Jesus in this life will discover separation from God at that time.  That is an unnecessary journey.  If you haven’t done it yet, say yes to Jesus today!

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