Letter to a friend

Dear pal,

I totally understand why you’re feeling all that.

At the end of the day – you want to feel loved and supported in this, not just know that you are.  And it’s easy to think – if God loves you and He holds all the cards why won’t He just fix this?  At least one part of it.

I’m guessing Jesus felt something similar on the night before the Cross. I’m guessing, sitting in the garden – deeply believing that the Father was worthy – He asked the question:  ‘Is this really the only way? You’re sovereign and you’re perfect so can’t we figure out another way to do this?

Jonathan Edwards describes that moment like this:

“Christ’s soul was overwhelmed with the thought; his feeble human nature shrunk at the dismal sight. It put him into this dreadful agony which you have heard described; but his love to sinners held out. Christ would not undergo these sufferings needlessly, if sinners could be saved without. If there was not an absolute necessity of his suffering them in order to their salvation, he desired that the cup might pass from him. But if sinners, on whom he had set his love, could not, agreeably to the will of God, be saved without his drinking it, he chose that the will of God should be done. He chose to go on and endure the suffering, awful as it appeared to him.”

Edwards thinks the Father encouraged the Son by reminding Him of the great promises this would fulfill.  One of those promises was you. In Isaiah it says out of the anguish of His soul, He shall see and be satisfied.  The Father showed Him you.  So, for the joy set before Him – for the glory of God in the creation of the real and redeemed you – He endured the Cross.

But none of that made it hurt less.  It didn’t lessen the pain. It didn’t diminish the agony or remove the anguish. It just enabled Him to walk through it.

I know you’re disappointed that this is your life. I am too. I’m devastated for your past ten years of pain. I’m devastated for your broken body and the loneliness you feel. And if I I had the power – I would change it all. I really would. But that’s because I don’t love you enough.  I would be willing to stop breaking your soul’s bones, even though I know that they must be broken to heal properly.  I would give you a break from having your soul yanked apart over and over again. But if He stops for a second, your soul will fuse around the things of this world. And so – with His heart in knots – He leans down once again to yank you away from those things: comfort, ease, people, pleasure, earthly rest. And it’s so painful. But it’s because He’s healing you. It’s because He’s loving you.

I love you with all my heart, and that is just a drop in the ocean of His love.


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