I was reading my Bible this morning, where Jesus rebukes some religious leaders for teaching there’s no life beyond death. That God isn’t the God of the dead, but the living (Mark 12.18-27). And I knew I had been doing it again. That though this life is fragile and broken and passing away, and though a new life is found beyond the brokenness of death which is perfect with God, worth living for now…I haven’t been. As usual, my focus, my vision has been gazing firmly into my navel, and at what’s going on for me in the here and now, getting the right circumstances, finding the stuff to make me feel good about myself now.
Not that this life is bad or lowly or to be suppressed or repressed or denied or anything like that. Just that there’s no actual hope in this life. But I’ve been trying to find my hope here, futilely, in relationships, in comfortable circumstances, in exalting my own reputation. And here Jesus is saying that there’s this incredible hope, which would be realised by him going to the cross and then rising, that all the brokenness and pain of this life that ends in death – isn’t what it’s all about. That even beyond death God is my God and I belong to him, if my hope is in Jesus and not in…whatever else.
I can’t deny I felt pretty futile when I realised this (again). Like I’m in this rut, this trough, locked into a pattern of stupidity and sin that I just keep doing and no matter how often I tell myself at the start of a day I need to be different, I roll into bed knowing nothing actually changed. That i just don’t have the resources or power to change this pattern. So I did the only thing I could do. I told him that, and I asked for him to rescue me. And I felt also this great comfort, because I know that it’s not up to me. Yes God calls me to change, but he is the one who changes me. And I know that he is. I don’t live by my moral capacity but by his grace to me. Not a grace that says ‘do whatever, it’s cool with me’, but a grace that keeps working with me, that never gives up on me as I struggle to grow and change and become a man who actually loves God and loves other people instead of just a jerk who loves myself. A kindness that will never let me go, until one day when I see Jesus face to face, I’ll become exactly as I should be.
And that’s good news indeed.
How has God’s kindness affected you? Have you ever experienced it?