Friday, August 25, 2006

Blessings And Curses

Have you ever noticed that blessings and curses are always found side by side in the bible? They’re also found side by side in real life.

My life can seem like just one big curse, a giant bruise on my foot. I can feel as though it’ll never get better… it’ll always be like this. It can feel like a huge downward spiral into the abyss but then comes the blessing. There are also times where you just never want it to end. You’re in bliss, God seems to have healed or is at least healing all your sorrows. Joy overwhelms everything you do. That’s the blessing.

It’s very easy, dangerously easy to forget one while you’re in the middle of the other. When you’re in a cursed time you can easily feel like the blessing was a lie. It can overcome you and you can forget your joy and lose your hope completely. When you’re in the blessing and everything feels right you can forget about your suffering. You can fall into the deception that life is easy and that you have it all together. Neither extreme is good.

We live in a world that was created sooooo good. God called it “very good.” It’s a place of harmony, beauty, peace, and joy. But it’s been tampered with. A curse has entered, sin has corrupted. There is now struggle and hardship, Shame and torment. We live in a world soaked in God but filled with enmity. It’s all happening at the same time; it’s the human situation… a paradox of existence. The good is still here because the darkness has not overcome the light (John 1) but there is still frailty, there is still pain.

Why is there pain?.... because we’re not living in reality.

Many believe that pain is reality but the only reason it’s here at all is because we are living in unreality. Reality is that God has defeated death; we are forgiven, and restored. Reality is that we are in new creation. The restoration process is simply the implementation of truth. When we live in true reality the pain is gone. Of course this is not as simple as a choice. You can’t just make the pain go away by realizing reality for yourself. You are not alone here (another blessing that sometimes shows up as a curse). Pain sometimes comes from outside yourself. Sin is your problem no matter weather it comes from you or not. In fact as the church it could almost be said that it’s your problem especially when it isn’t your fault.

It’s easy when your in pain to lose hope in truth or even begin to believe it’s a lie. You can lose grasp of reality and allow darkness to overcome light even though truth is that light has overcome darkness.

There are a couple of observations I’d like t make about the cross. The cross is a symbol of hope but it’s an instrument of death. Jesus went through unimaginable suffering… a curse. But it didn’t end there… the curse did not overcome. In Jesus’ resurrection He overcame death. He opened the tomb of death to a paradise, a garden. He cried out “it is finished.” The curse of Jesus suffering brought the blessing of new life. Curses and blessings lived side by side in Jesus’ life, they live side by side in ours.

When you are in the midst of the curse remember reality. Your pain is not to end in pain. It will end in life. Open your heart to reality.


Stephanie said...

very thought provoking....

Dan McGowan said...

this is why faith is so vital to our being able to live a hopeful life with a hopeful future... I don't mean "faith" as in, "I am a Christian." I mean, "faith" as in, "I choose to trust that God really is in control of every aspect of my life and, therefore, in that confidence, I can move forward thru the times of blessing and the times of pain.

wellis68 said...

good thoughts Dan!

Dan McGowan said...

Wes, I was just on your campus - 2 days ago - returning my daughter to APU... Go Cougars! And during my visit, I stayed with relatives who are in the midst of very difficult life issues... stuff I have not gone thru - and other stuff I have... but the crux of our conversations were, basically, why is God ALLOWING this to happen to us? This was NOT OUR PLAN... To which I said, "Yep, it's usually NOT our plan... but God's plan is ALWAYS better - in the long run..." We spent several hours hashing out the difference between TRUSTING God and BEING A CHRISTIAN... cuz those two don't naturally "go together" all the time... Faith is a HUGE hurdle for we Christians to get over - and even when we DO finally get over that hurdle - we are faced, yet again, with another season of testing our faith...