Do you ever get sick and tired of hearing about injustice, murder, child molestation, domestic violence, drug addiction, genocide, greed, and other more insidious sins like ambition, slander, gossip, cursing, and bullying? Do you pray that God will bless everyone and forgive them all? Or do you feel powerless in these situations to institute change?
There is a story in Joshua in which Achan is the only one in the whole army of Israel to take and hide gold and silver items found among the enemy. When it is determined that he is the one who did this, he finally confesses. The result is that he and his wives and his children are all stoned and then burned to death. There is definitely no chance of passing down to another generation from Achan the temptation to steal. Do you think consequences were harsh back then?
As I try to accept why the women and children are killed, I think of the couple who were going at it in their apartment recently. When I say going at it, I mean the man (a longtime alcoholic) was beating his wife with a broom. By the time I reached the door to bang on it, the wife had somehow gotten the broom and was landing a few blows of her own on him. When she heard my knock, she fled out of the door and sat shaking on the patio.
Thinking about them makes me shudder at what their children saw growing up. What are they are like as adults today, and what addictions or violence might they be perpetuating on their own children? Compassion and concern for this family sends me to my knees in prayer. Yet, the rational side of me says that the man will be drinking tomorrow and in another week or two he and his wife will have another knock down drag out fight. So what is the use of intervening.
“Oh, faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you and put up with you?” answered Jesus Christ rhetorically to the scribes and to the disciples. Their efforts had failed to heal the boy who had a demon spirit which caused him to convulse, foam at the mouth, and throw himself down. Even Christ appeared tired of the unbelief and testing from the crowd. He had been in their midst doing miracles and healing, yet the people still did not believe. How tired He must have been at trying to change their hearts.
I wane darker still. Good Friday 2000 years ago was the beginning of what appeared to be a lost cause. Christ was nailed to the cross as His family, friends, and enemies waited to see what would happen. The skies grew dark, the earth split, and then He just died. I cannot imagine what His disciples thought at that moment and the hours that followed. “We might as well go home; there is nothing that we can do.”
Sit with this feeling for one more day. Today we meditate on the fact that Jesus was truly dead in the tomb. At that time there was no hope for anything good to come out of the crucifixion. Today, like then, we grieve and mourn our losses, our impotence, and our failures to stop the evil in this world, in a neighbor, in ourselves. If Friday night was shocking, Saturday is numbing. Who understands that Sunday is about to burst forth with an eternal truth that will recreate our faithless and perverse hearts? Search the Scriptures and learn the hope that is yours and mine. See Luke 24 for the rest of His story.