Devastated But Not Destroyed

"For the Son of Man has come to seek and save that which was lost." Luke 19:10.....Translation of 'lost' - Ruined, devastated, broken beyond repair. "We can be devastated, but not destroyed." Kay Warren

 

The translation of the word lost from the original Greek, of being ruined, devastated, and broken beyond repair, speaks to me. All three are states that we can find ourselves in, and often from no wrongdoing of our own. What is our response in those places? How then do we see Jesus? When John the Baptist found himself in prison, he sent this question to Jesus; "Are you the One we have waited for, or do we look for someone else?"That is the question that must be faced by all of us when we run into the bitter, unexplainable, devastatingly unfair places of life. In those places where the worst we could imagine happening, happens, will He remain our Lord, our Savior, or, do we look somewhere else for someone else? In response to the question of John the Baptist, I heard another asked; Will you love Him even when He doesn't live up to your expectations? Will we? Will you?

 

The quote from Kay Warren, wife of Rick Warren, came after her discussing the loss of her son, who several years ago committed suicide. Their son had struggled with deep, crushing depression, and nothing had helped him. Not Doctors, not medication, not counseling....not even their faith. The question that comes to all of us in the midst of sorrow and devastation is, "Where was God? Where is He now?" It brings to mind the words of a Jewish rabbi in a Nazi concentration camp who was asked this question by another as they witnessed a fellow inmate being hung on a gallows. He answered, "God is on the gallows." Christ's name is Immanuel, God with us. He is with us, in and through everything, even when He is not responding to our suffering as we want Him to. The Father may not give us the answers we want, but He will never cease to give us Himself as the Answer to all of our "Why's?" If we have expectations of Him, we will live lives filled with frustration and disappointment. If our expectations are inHim, we will enter into His peace, joy and life even in the midst of the deepest valley and darkness. The enemy's plan in every place of destruction and loss is to get us to look somewhere else for someone other than Christ. In the ruins, He calls us to look to Him. In the reality of our pain, He will be a greater reality. As Warren says, "When we walk in despair's shoes, He will give us the courage to walk through one more day." And He will walk with us, and within us. He will get us through. He will get us home. And in that journey we will learn what it is to share in the fellowship His suffering.

 

Many of us are living in the place of what has been lost....ruined, devastated, broken beyond repair. In response to the question of John Baptist, Jesus said in effect, look at what is happening, the fruit of My ministry and life. What I say is real. I am real. In the contradictions of life, He is real. He is true. He is the Savior. In this fallen, sin sick world we live in, He may not give back what has been lost, but He will redeem us in the midst of it. What is meant to destroy us, won't. The King Eternal will lead on. Along the way will be His miracles, if we're willing to see them. 

 

I have come to see Luke 19:10 as a much deeper promise than I once did. Once I thought in terms of Him bringing back to me tangible things or people that had been lost or stolen from me. In His goodness, He often does just that, but we cannot place Him in our narrow confines and expectations. What I have seen Him do in any and all sorrow is bring back to me, and others, ruined hope, devastated faith, and broken beyond repair lives, most especially my life. In mine and so many others, things have appeared beyond repair. In Him, they are not. They never can be. Michael Card said, "Just when you think you will never know joy again, life comes back." His life. And His life never left. We're just dulled to it by our pain. You may be dulled to it right now. Don't let go of Him. Don't look somewhere else for someone else. He seeks, He saves, He restores. This fallen world will always fail us. The risen Christ never will. Paul said that he had been crushed by the sorrows of life, and many times, but they had never destroyed him. They will not destroy us. Jesus asked two piercing questions of His disciples. "Do you believe this," and "Will you leave me also?"  Do we believe Him....in the midst of the unbelievable? Will we leave Him in the midst of devastation? Peter asked Him, "Lord where would we go? You have the words of life." He still has those words. Will we hear them and cling to Him?

Blessings,
Pastor O

 

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