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From Jim McGuiggan... Does God Break Our Hearts?

Does God Break Our Hearts?

If it's true as we believe that God came to us in and as Jesus Christ and if it is true as we believe that God put him to grief (Isaiah 53:10) then the answer's yes. In a garden one evening Jesus came to three disciples and said to them (Matthew 26:38, REB), "My heart is ready to break with grief." Will God break our hearts? Yes, if it suits his gracious, generous and holy purpose.
But when we say God will break our hearts we're not to think of him acting as in a vacuum or without purpose. He doesn't will us pain because he takes pleasure in giving us pain nor does he act utterly independent of the life and its relationships that he has given us.
Does God give us rain? Of course! The psalmists praised him for it, Jeremiah saw it as one of the proofs of God's true divinity and Jesus saw it as a mark of God's universal generosity. But they all knew he didn't simply will rain to fall out of a cloudless sky. They knew about winds, clouds, heat and the like. For all their knowledge of "secondary agents" they knew that ultimately it rained because God said, Rain! (Just as G.K. Chesterton knew the sun rose in the east each morning because God said, Get up!) It makes no sense to say that because we can trace the physical development of a rain shower (or anything else) that God is not bringing it about. I can understand the non-believer being satisfied with a merely mechanical explanation but one who takes the Bible seriously won't go that direction.
The same is true with grief. God's grief-bringing instruments are surely numberless but the one behind them all is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Sometimes the grief has nothing to do with punishment or chastisement! Sometimes it has more to do with (for!)
others than with (for) us. Sometimes the grief arises because God has so shaped us that when we meet sin and entrenched evil we grieve profoundly at the loss of others. Sometimes our pain is because we are the body of Christ bearing the sins of the world and suffering for the world. Can you believe that?
And we need to bear this in mind as we reflect on suffering and loss: if humanity hadn't brought sin to the table God would not have brought pain and loss. God means to bring us fullness of life, in fellowship with him, and if it means subjecting the human family to grief in order to gain that purpose he's willing to do it. (See The Divine Paramedic.) The "natural laws" God willed and sustains were made to bless us but in a world of human sin God is perfectly willing to use the instruments of blessing as instruments of redemption even when it involves pain and loss.
©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.