The mask of self-determination can hide under anything, even God, especially God. My will be done, my Kingdom come is present in all of us that haven’t been perfected in Christ. The heroic that say, “OK Lord, I’ll kiss that cross that is being put before me even if I am grinding my teeth,” are well on their way to holiness. What is frightening is that a multitude flees from the cross as if it was not theirs to bear. Theological Christian constructs have built movements on the anti-cross.
Christ bore it all; your efforts are filthy rags unworthy of any offering. I wonder what in the world? Have they never even opened the good book? And if they have, what were they reading? Leave this, do that, come here, follow me, unless you hate, suffering shall await, you are neither hot nor, they loved their lives not unto death, to the over comers I will give……shall I keep going?
Yeah, God does have a wonderful plan for your life. Take up your cross and follow me. Those who would shudder at the fear of pain are already defeated; those who would avoid pain might as well throw in the towel. Was the Apostle kidding when He said anyone who would live Godly in Christ Jesus would suffer? Suffering as a Christian is no more avoidable than the cock that crows.
Now we all will suffer one way or another, even if we are doing the one-two-Jonah move. But make no mistake, God will win the day. Most of us at the outset are not so thrilled when the cross comes, we are not ready-made out-of-the-box Saints. We awkwardly flap around on the altar, embrace our private passions, and when the fatal blow is struck with all its pain we find out something wonderful, He is there in the knife, but even greater still He is on the altar with us giving himself and us courage to keep moving. Though He slays me, I will wait for Him.
If the King of Kings walked the Via Dolorosa, if the Mother of our Lord had a sword pierce her immaculate heart, shall we escape the knife? It is our greatest dignity where our love is proven more precious than silver refined in the fire, where self-determination is turned on its head to self-less love. Thy will be done, thy Kingdom come.
We are attracted to the Christ because of his absurd, even ridiculous love for us! Will He be attracted to what He has fashioned in us? He is creating an image of Himself; will He find His reflection in you and me. Us that have become little Christs manifesting even ridiculous selfless love. No greater love than this.
It was how my Baptist tradition approached the question of suffering that first made me start to assess the accuracy of their interpretations of Scripture. The peculiar view that the Church would be raptured and escape their prophesied tribulation just didn’t resonate with the Scriptures you reference in this piece. I remember having conversations with the Associate Pastor of First Baptist at the time on this very topic, and he really had no counter point. If you are going to claim to take the Bible literally, you cannot then pick and choose which Scriptures you’re taking literally and redefine the others to fit.
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