Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tough Enough for the Tough Stuff

By Brenda Black

Meek and mild, loving and kind – that's how many see the Savior of the World. He is long suffering, wishing none to perish. That's a fact. But if He came to only alleviate our discomfort and make us feel all safe and sound, why does pain and loss continue to exist?

God did not send His Son to bring calm to a sinful world. He sent the Messiah to die for sinners and win a revolution against unseen forces of evil. Christ came to conquer death, not just ease our ills. Still, when life gets tough and people continue to suffer, it's hard to trust that God still cares. How can hurting people turn to One who has such power over wind and waves, life and death when bad things happen any way? The answer is not easy. In fact it is filled with pain – torturous, excruciating, hateful, unjust pain. The Man of Sorrows knows about suffering. He endured the heinous sentence of death on a cross. We turn to Him when times get tough because we know He truly understands when this sinful world turns against us.

Isn't that what we need the most when all is lost and hope has faded? We need someone who can empathize with our fragile condition. We long for someone to grasp our anguish without having to explain the rush of emotions, the anxiety and the stress and lonesome, lost feeling that dogs us when we drop exhausted from pain and fear. We need a Savior who's been there.

Day after day, the news reports terrible tragedy in our country. Families are still reeling from spring tornadoes that ripped their world in two. Thousands of acres currently disintegrate as tongues of fire lick up land and homes and lives. What's not twisted or torched may be inundated by flood waters to the north or lying crisp and infertile in the drought stricken South. For the rest of us living in between, inflation and unemployment plague us like hungry locusts. The economic crisis may not be natural, but it is a disaster nonetheless! It's all tough stuff at every turn that calls for tough people in America to keep on keepin' on.

I don't know about you, but this proud American is not strong enough to handle these kind of heart wrenching, gut-twisting trials on my own. I haven't lost my home or a loved one to wind, water or fire like thousands of others in the past couple of months. I have, however, tried to put myself in their shoes and asked myself, “What if?” And “What would I do?”

Every time I ponder the frightening possibility, I get the same answer: “I'd run to Jesus!”

The One who was tough enough to go to the cross, is tender enough to understand deep sorrow. He is tough enough to handle the anger and doubting; kind enough to give the disillusioned time to question. This loving Christ is tough enough to deal with a billion tears and the sobbing from terrible loss; patient enough to wipe each eye, hold the hurting and rock them to sleep with whispers of hope and the promise of healing. My prayer is that those in the paths of destruction run to One so loving. You can make it through unthinkable tragedy with the grace of God.

As I watch faithful people throughout our great nation resign themselves to God's care, I am resolved more to cling to my tough and tender Lord who carries the weight of the world and hears every believer's prayer. God is good and God is able when times are bad and we are desperate. God is tough enough to see us through the toughest tests. Those who lean on Him will find great strength. For nothing is beyond God's might.

“The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic...The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning. The voice of the Lord shakes the desert;...The voice of the Lord twists the oaks and strips the forests bare. And in his temple all cry, 'Glory!'

“The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever. The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.” (Psalm 29: 3-5, 7-11)

God bless America, her people and her land and help us always remember we never walk through any trial alone when we hold to a nail-scarred, tough and calloused, but loving hand.

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