It is written that Jesus Christ was acquainted with grief. The grief He became acquainted with comes to every one of His followers who hunger and thirst after righteousness. At the time He walked in this fallen world He was the most righteous human being on the face of the earth. As we, His Bridal company, walk this world seeking to know Him intimately in every aspect of His unblemished nature, the hunger for righteousness also rises within us in ever increasing waves.
We find ourselves at a loss to make sense of the dark tide of evil inundating the planet around us. Daily we are confronted with a world that increasingly calls good evil and evil good. Our souls are assaulted with the madness of it all. Our spirits heave and groan as every new wave of darkness manifests boldly in a world that has rejected God. At times we feel as if we might be overwhelmed by man’s insatiable love for sin that seemingly knows no boundaries.
For those who wake each day in the world of 2013 here are just a few of the daily realities we find at our door:
*The lives of unborn human beings are deliberately and cruelly terminated in unprecedented numbers and it’s called ‘choice’;
*The God-given covenant of marriage between one man and one woman is mocked, devalued and redefined and it’s called ‘equality’;
*Political leaders and national authorities deceive, tolerate corruption in their ranks, and fail to uphold their oaths of office and it’s called ‘freedom’;
*Church leaders and whole denominations reluctantly admit covering hidden sexual sin, misappropriation of funds and harboring of pedophiles, and it’s called ‘repentance’.
*International terrorism and the fear of it stalk our cities and overshadow our everyday lives as more and more of our basic freedoms are removed and it’s called ‘security’.
*Millions of children are born yearly into gross poverty, injustice, and sexual and economic slavery, while the global economic system winks and continues to grow fat on ‘the bodies and souls of men’ (Rev. 18:13)
I’m sure you could easily add more to the list but I think enough said.
So where’s the good news? Christ. That’s all, that’s everything, the whole deal. This growing craving for righteousness is actually a hunger for Him, for He is our righteousness. If you are placing your trust in a political leader, party or ideology, you will be disappointed. Look to Christ. If you are counting on the U.N to find a way to world peace, you will be dismayed. Look to Christ. If you are entrusting your career, your religion, or your family with your future happiness they will fail you. Look to Christ.
But alongside this deepening grief all seekers of righteousness encounter in an unrighteous world, there is also an unconquerable hope. That hope takes root within us as we learn where sin abounds grace abounds more. It grows stronger in us with each passing hour as Christ increases in us. It surges powerfully within us when the enemy whispers “give up, all hope is lost.”
This alternating intensity between grief and hope should be familiar to many of us, especially those of us who are parents. We know it in nature as labor pains, or the old fashioned Bible word ‘travail’. What we are experiencing is the spiritual equivalent of labor. When the darkness around us seems almost unbearable, then the light breaks through, we remember that we are children of the resurrection and hope of what is to come floods our souls once again.
Was this how it was for Jesus? We read of Him ‘groaning’ and being ‘troubled in spirit’ and yet the gospel writers do not present Him as either morose or unhappy. And if you know Him, you know He is joy incarnate. Often our religious experience has taught us that to present ourselves as anything other than ‘joyous and victorious’ is somehow letting Jesus down. After all, we must show the world how good it is to be a Christ follower, right? (Shhh! Don’t mention the Cross!) That false kind of ‘joy’ is actually no joy at all, just a mask we apply to gain approval of other Christians also wearing masks. Can we stop that please???
The truth is labor hurts and hunger can be downright discouraging. And it’s OK! Hunger also propels you toward the only source of nourishment around. Feed on Christ. He’s been there, He knows what travail is, and He also knows the beginning from the end. There’s nothing and no-one else that’s going to satisfy that deep hunger for righteousness……that’s a promise.
Related Article: The Dove Eyed Lovers