“What will God do for us,” our hearts ponder as we lift up to the Lord in prayer the one with cancer, a family in a car accident, or for those that mourn the death of a loved one. Will He give or take away? So often these questions are imprinted into our minds and lay heavy against our hearts. We want to trust that Jesus is for us but our Old Adam questions the faithfulness of God.
Because of our sinful nature we blame God for our problems when our problem is not with God but sinful man. When we begin to think, “Why has God done this to me?” we ought to ask ourselves a better question, “How can God love this wicked world, so tainted with sin and evil?” The latter question leads us to clearer portrait of who we are and what the proper dissection of any problem or situation at hand may be handled. A common first instinct of a sinner is to blame another person or thing for either the wrongs we have done or for being wronged. But ultimately these excuses are really nothing more than that; excuses, falsities, and selfishness. Therefore the result of all this sin and wickedness leads one into despair and sometimes even anger. Anger with oneself, others and often with God. Trials, pain, and suffering tempt us to question the trust we may have once strongly felt with our Creator but now because of whatever reason the grief grasps our faith and seeks to destroy with its grip any love for God which we once possessed. Dear children of our risen Savior, might the tempter, the devil, be cast aside with the faith you possess in Christ! God does cares for you, He came for you!
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.–John 3:16-18 (NKJV)
You have faith and this faith which you are clothed in with His righteousness is yours because of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. Was not Christ’s trial, pain, and suffering all for you, for the world? Certainly so, for if you have been joined to death like His, you will also be united to a resurrection like His (Cf. Romans 6). Cleave to the cross of Jesus, it is the reflection of your own faith; in it you have the answer to the heart wrenching questions, the sorrowful tears, and the mourning at life’s end. Your answer is Jesus. Jesus answers how He could love such a sinful world, filled with life’s regrets, trash, shame, hunger and utter anguish. Our Lord does not passively sit on the sidelines, or look upon us here below, but bore our sins with death’s blow on the cross and rising again to brought life that we may be written in His Book of Life.
Look again at the words in John 17 and 18, they say that Jesus did not come to condemn the world. Why? Because the world condemned itself by not trusting in God; Adam and Eve ate of the fruit which the Lord forbid and sin entered the world through this act of disobedience, and condemnation was from thenceforth carried into the existence of man and cast upon everyone since. This scar of sin causes us to question God’s love, and to ask the poor questions which call into question God’s faithfulness. The reality is that we are the ones who have failed because of sin, we have not loved our neighbor as ourselves, and death which has come because it is the result of our sinful nature that reigns within all. Man rebelled against the good God of all things. We deserve His abandonment, but abandonment is not the way of God. He has no joy in abandonment but rather rejoices in atonement. Yes, we are left to condemnation if we remain outside of Christ, no one is obligated to love Him. Still, we who are in Christ receive life from death, and light out of darkness! Jesus does indeed love us sinners and for us has laid down His life that we may eternally receive it!
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.–Romans 8:1-2 (NKJV)
O Father lead us away from temptations which have us slander You, and Your faithfulness. Allow us to love You with our whole heart and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Let not our emotions cause us to question Your Son, Jesus, who died that we may have life. And let the Holy Spirit have its way with us as St. Paul writes to the Romans that Jesus’ death and resurrection are connected to us also in Holy Baptism by its drowning of sin and resurrection of new life because of You. In all these things we give thanks that no condemnation comes to us poor sinners because you have clothed us in righteousness and covered the sinful flesh with the cloak of faith. Amen.