Wednesday, May 4, 2011
I want life to work out as perfectly as a math problem. I find soothing satisfaction in an equation, the perfect balance that exists on either side of an equal sign. I want work to equal reward as perfectly as 2+2=4. I want suffering to equal punishment as neatly as 3x3=9. It doesn't. In life, someone completely uninvolved often suffers for another's crime. A drunk driver kills an two-year-old. A retired mailman loses his life savings in a scam. A drug addict's baby is born with cerebral palsy. It's not fair.
How can I not bleed for these situations? I cry for justice, but it doesn't come. The two-year-old stays dead. The mailman moves in with his son. The baby lives in an institution. No punishment meted out to the criminal changes the results. Where is the balance? Not here.
Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. --Ephesians 6:12
OK, I get that part. Only by adding eternal measures to the light side of the scale does it balance. Only You can make it even. Hence, the cross--the one You climbed on, the same one you tell us to pick up and carry every day and, eventually, to climb onto ourselves. I try to do this, and sometimes can, but I am no hero. I am willing sometimes to suffer for someone else's sake, someone who has had a bad break, someone I love or even who loves me. I see their misfortune or sickness or grief, I look at You, and say, yes, I can do this for them.
But You did more. You suffered not for those who loved You or even knew You. You suffered for those who hated You, who intentionally hurt You, and not only for their sake. By suffering, you not only bought them a chance to take advantage of Your life, Your promise, Your presence, but you also did something way beyond that. You used your suffering to defeat evil in the heavenly realms. The earthquake that shook Calvary had its epicenter in hell. You transferred all power and the very foundations of the earth back to Yourself that day. Those You freed may or may not ever know it, but Evil certainly knows. And we are called to join You in both works, that of suffering and that of battling evil.
This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved--and that by God. For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for Him. --Phillipians 1:28-29
And this is the job You give to those who believe--to follow You to the cross and participate in what You do in the heavenly realms. I don't usually feel privileged to do this, but my cowardice sprouts from my own burden of sin. Suffering for what I did not do at the hands of those who neither know or care is how I follow You and by this you can, even through me, defeat evil. This is how You perfect the balance. I just have to trust and act.