From the Clerk’s Corner
Things break. Recently a mishandled “treasured” glass item in our household fell and shattered into innumerable pieces. There was the initial anger of blame quickly followed by the pain of loss. Looking upon the scattered debris, a fleeting thought of Humpty-Dumpty came to mind: this glass object can never be put back together again! Then, of course, the solution would be to replace the object –if one could find a replica. Perhaps that would sooth the momentary pain. Hearts break. The unanticipated loss of someone we love –whether through death, divorce, or estrangement– causes emotional pain and suffering that could last for many years. How does one fix or replace a lost intimate relationship? Lives break. The loss of a job, a home, or health brings suffering and pain. Life is fragile, things fall apart, things decay. How does one cope with suffering such painful losses? Where does one seek healing and restoration? Here a critical life-changing decision is made: to choose relief from “the culture of death” or to choose solace from “the culture of life”? Many choose the former, a wider road as it appears to be the “easier way” –to numb the pain of brokenness through alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex and a host of other addictions — all of which incrementally spiral into self-destruction. Fewer choose the latter, a narrow road that is challenging yet hopeful — choosing to surrender to self and submit to the will of our Creator God Who desires only good things for us, for God is infinite goodness! The reality –the truth– is that we are all broken in some way, be it physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual.
But our brokenness can become a blessing when we realize our affliction brings us closer to God, dependent upon Him (and not ourselves or others) to heal us. Father God is the Great Physician, Jesus Christ the Miraculous Healer, the Holy Spirit the Comforter –when all else fails, our awesome God is always present and mindful of our needs. Broken bodies, broken promises, broken relationships, broken spirits — God can handle all such things; absolutely nothing is impossible to Him. In our brokenness, our hope for healing is to be found in the name of the Lord! Living under the curse of our fallen condition we sometimes forget this truth and attempt to restore healing on our own. God wants us to lean on Him, so let go of the need to “be in control” and let God be God! He will not abandon anyone who places his trust and hope in His hands. Sometimes God’s will is for us to endure our affliction of brokenness in a seemingly paradoxical way to bear witness to His existence and sovereignty. The Apostle Paul begged God to relieve him of his brokenness (an unidentified chronic affliction), but God responded that His grace was sufficient. On the night of His impending arrest, even Jesus prayed if another way be made possible –yet fully accepted the will of His Father to endure. The world sees suffering as a curse to be avoided; believers in God can accept suffering as a blessing!
The two greatest cataclysms that dramatically changed the course of human history: the Fall of Man and the Resurrection of Christ. The first Adam fell from grace with God through his disobedience and with that act the wages of sin, suffering and death entered the world; moreover, nature itself fell from its state of perfection to one of hostility and instability. These two events are inextricably linked; for with the fall of the first Adam, God promised a Redeemer to provide the means of restoring salvation to mankind through a second “Adam”: Jesus Christ. Jesus willingly allowed His perfect human body to be broken for us, to fully identify with us by experiencing the excruciating fullness of human pain, suffering, torture, and death — solely out of His divine infinite love so that we might live again! By His stripes, we are healed. Through this required sacrifice of His only Son being satisfied, God offered reconciliation, sonship, and salvation to all those who believe in Him and follow Him. The full restoration of God’s creation will take place when the Risen Christ reconciles all things unto Himself at the Second Coming. Revelation tells us that there will then be no more tears and suffering for those who are His faithful children. On the night before His destiny with crucifixion, Jesus gathered His Apostles together, offering Himself as “the Bread of Life” — the bread that nourishes, heals, and sanctifies. “Take and eat, for this is My Body — broken for you!”
–Rob Riehl, ruling elder, clerk of session