My heart is so full of thoughts, that I have no words for this night. We spent the night at home as a family, for I still struggle with the images of where I was just a few short years back when, on Good Friday, I came to grips with the burning need to know whether God was truth coupled with a sense that I was going to die-soon-not knowing.
But now I know. I know God not only is truth, He adopted me to be His daughter. He taught me to love my family. He has made me different. And all because of the cross and the resurrection.
So tonight I share some passages from one of the most instrumental books I’ve read: The Cross of Christ by John Stott.
“We may well respond, of course, that we do not want God to change us, especially if the necessary means he uses is pain. ‘We may wish, indeed,’ wrote C.S. Lewis, ‘that we were of so little amount to God that he left us alone to follow our natural impulses-that he would give over trying to train us into something so unlike our natural selves, but once again, we are asking not for more love, but for less….to ask that God’s love should be content with us as we are is to ask that God should cease to be God.'”
“If it was reasonable for Job to trust the God whose wisdom and power have been revealed in creation, how much more reasonable is it for us to trust the God whose love and justice have been revealed in the cross?”
“God striving with God” “The fact that this fighting God is not two different gods but the same God causes his pain. The pain of God is ‘a synthesis of his wrath and love’ and is ‘his essence.’ It was supremely revealed in the cross. For ‘the pain of God results from the love of the One who intercepts and blocks his wrath towards us, the One who himself is smitten by his wrath. This is strikingly bold phraseology. It helps us to understand how God’s pain continues where his wrath and love, his justice and mercy are in tension today.”
Stott states, “I could never myself believe in God if it were not for the cross. The only God I believe in is the One Nietzsche ridiculed as “God on the cross.” In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it?”
If we have never sought, we seek thee now
Thine eyes burn through the dark, our only stars,
We must have sight of thorn-marks on your brow
We must have thee, oh Jesus of the scars.
The heavens frighten us, they are too calm
In all the universe, we have no place
Our wounds are hurting us, where is thy balm
Lord Jesus by the scars we know thine grace.
If when the doors are shut thou drawest near,
only reveal those hands, that side of thine
We know today what wounds are; have no fear
Show us thou scars, we know the countersign.
The other gods were strong but thou wast weak;
They rode but thou didst stumble to a thrown
But to our wounds only God’s wounds can speak
But not a God has wounds but thou along.
(Edward Shilleto: Jesus of the Scars)