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Expecting Trouble

I’ve had what I consider to be a pretty good life thus far. 

 

I grew up with amazing parents and amazing siblings. I was home-schooled, which has it’s downsides, but also provides an environment to grow and thrive that I think, for some kids, cannot be replaced by a public school education.

As a general rule, I have had good, solid friends with whom I have worked past disagreements in a way that makes us closer in the end. 

 

I’ve never been sick in a life-threatening or long-term way.

Sure, I’ve had my rough patches in life, and struggled like anyone does at various times. I’ve gone through stages in my life that, looking back, I would define as some sort of mild, periodic depression. I’ve been frustrated with a few injuries that have kept me from sports. I’ve gone through the Spiritual valleys that accompany the mountaintops, as I think all Christians do. 

 

But overall, I think my life has been a pretty smooth ride. And I am so grateful

 

But I’ve been thinking lately about suffering, and trouble. And I think, as a Christian, I should be expecting it.  I don’t think there’s any way around it. 

 

 

Now, if you've hung out with me any great length of time, you probably know I’m a big fan of Bethel Music, which is a group of worship musicians from Bethel Church in Redding, California. They churn out music that, in my opinion, is simply the best worship music currently being created. 

 

As a massive fan, I’ve started listening to some teachings from “Worship U,” their school of worship. And a theme that I’ve noticed through any of the personal life stories of these “big name” worship leaders is this:

 

Intense hardships. And I mean intense. 

 

Melissa Helser, (who, along with her husband Jonathan David Helser wrote songs like “No Longer Slaves,” “You Came,” “Catch the Wind,”  and “Abba”), was diagnosed with a disease that completely removed her ability to play guitar for ten years. Ten years. What?

 

John Mark McMillan (“How He Loves”) went through an intense crisis of Faith during a period of two years, and had to fight to regain his relationship with Jesus.

 

Brian Johnson, the core of the Bethel Music collective, struggled with a deep-rooted bitterness that blocked his songwriting for a significant period of time (I think it was around a year, but I could have the exact timeframe a bit off).

 

Kristene DiMarco (“Take Courage,” “It is Well”)  had to go through the difficult process of becoming vulnerable off the stage, not just on it. 

 

As I watched each worship leader share their story, it seemed that every one of them had a hardship in their past, some period of their lives that was so brutally difficult that they must have wondered if they’d ever make it out. 

 

And as I listened to these worship leaders and songwriters who are in so many ways heroes to me, I began to formulate a theory that suffering and pain were inevitable aspects on the Christian walk. That to truly chase Jesus with all that I am, there was no shortcut past or long way around pain and hardship. 

 

The Bible backs up this theory pretty solidly.

 

Romans 5:3-5 says this:

 

“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

 

I’m certainly glad that “hope” is part of the equation, but it doesn’t negate the fact that the starting point for this hope is “tribulations,” which was translated from a greek word that includes the concept of “pressing together,” “pressure,” “oppression,” and “distress.” Sounds like fun. 

 

Peter also talked about suffering in 1 Peter 4:12-13:

 

“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”

 

Short version: “Why are you so surprised when you go through hard times? Expect it, yo. Oh, and also be joyful about it“

 

Or how about James, who opens his letter with this verse (James 1:2):

 

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials”

 

Awesome. Thanks James. 

 

One more. This time from Jesus Himself, from verse 33 of John 16:

 

“… In the world you will have tribulation…”

 

Now, I don’t claim to be a Biblical scholar, but I don’t think there are too many times when Jesus unconditionally and absolutely promised something to His disciples. 

 

However, examining the context of this verse, I think this is one of those times. Jesus promises suffering and hardships and pressure. Not the best way to inspire your faithful followers, to whom Jesus was talking.

 

So, where does that leave Christians like me?

 

Assuming we’re following Jesus as best as we know how, I think it’s safe to say trouble is something we should be expecting. I’m coming to believe that trouble is an unavoidable (and, I would say, necessary) part of the Christian life.

There is no path to the destiny of a Jesus follower that does not pass through trials and tribulations. 

 

 

Now then, if we can agree that trouble is something to be expected if one is living the Christian life, the next question is this: why does it matter? How does that change one’s perspective or attitude towards life? 

 

I think there are two things to take home:

 

First, if you are currently in the midst of some sort of storm: take heart and keep your chin up! Trouble doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve wandered off the path, or that you’re losing your faith.

Now, as an aside, I do think encountering hardships is a great time to take a step back and check yourself; it could definitely be an indicator that you have wandered off from the path Jesus intended for you. But assuming you’ve eliminated that possibility (I’d recommend asking someone you trust who knows you well as a good first test), being in the midst of a storm is probably an indicator that you’re right where you’re supposed to be. 

 

Kristene DiMarco recently released a new album (called “Where His Light Was”), and Bethel posted a short video with her explaining some of the story behind the album. I thought one thing she said was particularly genius:

 

“If it’s not good, it’s not the end.”

Man, that is something to hold on to. Hard times come, but it never ends there. God has always had a plan, and it never ends with the bad. There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel, a break in the clouds, a safe haven in the ocean’s storm. You might not be able to see it in the midst of the trial, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. 

 

To finish off that last verse, in Jesus’ words:

 

“…be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

 

If it’s not good, it’s not the end. 

 

(If you’re interested, you can check out that video here: https://www.facebook.com/bethelmusic/videos/1846643845366064/)

That was the first takeaway: keep pressing on, through the storms, because there's an end to them. 

The second takeaway is for anyone currently in smoother waters. And I think it can be summed up nicely in a single word:

 

Resolve.

 

Resolve now, in the easy goings, that nothing will make you stop chasing Jesus. Though you may doubt His plans, and it might seem like the whole world is crashing down on you, resolve that you will not let go of Him. Resolve that you will remind yourself of all His promises and of His Faithfulness in the long, dark nights. Resolve that you will not be surprised or get disillusioned when the storms do come, but that you will simply cling that much tighter to Him, trusting Him before understanding. 

 

Expect that trying times will come. Expect them to possibly be worse than you could have imagined. But also expect that the ending will always be good. 

 

Resolve to never give up. 

 

 

Ya know, to be honest, this blog post is a bit weird for me to write. 

 

I usually take several sittings to fully complete a blog post, often days or even weeks apart, and this one was no different. 

 

And about halfway through writing this one, I came to the sudden realization that I am currently walking (crawling?) through the midst of a storm. 

 

Though I cannot point to any external circumstance as a trigger, I feel Spiritually and emotionally drained. I’ve been having a hard time getting passionate about things that used to energize me like nothing else (case in point: Christian youth conferences). I’ve found myself getting frustrated with super silly little things, and simply having less patience with people than I am used to having. 

 

I actually don’t think I’ve felt this dry for this long before. 

 

And it’s hard. Man, it sucks. Part of me just wants to go back to my teenage years where I would sit and marinate in God’s presence that felt so tangible I could almost taste it. 

 

Instead I find myself having to fight to worship and pray. 

 

But, having been convinced by trusted people that I am still in the right place at the right time and that this dryness is really a transition point from one Spiritual place to the next, I am resolved to keep holding on.

I am holding on, because I have hope that the end will be better than the start. Though I have no idea why I am here, or what God is doing in it, I know that He has good plans, and I trust that He will show them to me when the time is right. 

 

Until then, I hold on. To Him, to His promises, and to any and every ray of hope, regardless of how dark it may get. 

 

After all, trouble is really just something to be expected when you’re running after Jesus. 

 

I have decided to follow Jesus... No turning back, no turning back

On Being Helped

“How can you expect to help others if you will not let yourself be helped by them?”

 

That was the question that all but exploded through my thoughts about a month and a half ago a few months ago (it’s taken awhile to write this thing, ok?) while I was minding my own business, mowing the lawn, and listening to some relatively unrelated sermon. 

 

I do my best to listen to anything God might try to say to me through my thoughts, but it’s rare, at least for me, to have something that loud and clear, and so unrelated to anything that was occupying my mind the moment before. It’s nice when God makes takes away any question of whether or not that was Him talking. 

 

Of course, in this particular case, the thought that was loud and clear wasn’t necessarily a happy, feel-good thought. Really, it was a rebuke, but when God does it it somehow is a perfect combination of strong but gentle. It doesn’t feel harsh. It more feels like God gently pointing at a new area of my life and saying:

“Hey, this, right here. Yeah, this is what we need to work on next.”

Once I got over the initial frustration of realizing, yet again, that I’m not perfect (you’d think I’d be used to that revelation by now), I started thinking about what exactly that meant. 

 

Ok, so apparently letting myself be helped by other people is something I need to work on. But what does that look like practically? And why exactly is it a good idea? 

 

I think the answer is a journey that the moment on the lawnmower only started, and I’m guessing it’s a journey I’ll be on for awhile, but I have already learnt some things. Let’s start with why being helped by others is a good idea:

 

First, it kills pride. I think this is the number one reason why I’m not in the habit of asking for or even allowing people to help me.

I can do it on my own. I don’t need other people. I’m above that. Sure, I’ll help others, but I don’t need to be repaid for that favour. I’m strong enough on my own.

 

Now, I also think there is a legitimate aspect of my hesitancy to ask for help that is just me not wanting to be a burden on other people. I don’t think that’s wrong, so there’s obviously a balance here, but asking someone for help requires some level of humility, and that’s something I could always use a little more of. 

 

Keeping with the topic of breaking pride, one thing I’ve noticed is that I spend a lot of time trying to build up the little kingdom of my life all on my own; be it my career, the purchasing of a house, or whatever else a proper adult life is supposed to entail, I tend to try to do it on my own as much as possible. Maybe I’m still trying to prove to myself that I can actually make it on my own, without anyone else’s help, instead of just letting that pride fall to the ground and letting people help me. Maybe I really shouldn’t have it in my head that I “should” be able to make it on my own. Maybe it’s really more healthy to let other people help you grow. 

 

Asking for help entails being vulnerable enough to let other people see my weaknesses (something that I consider myself to be pretty terrible at). Asking for help automatically makes you vulnerable, be it in with a massive way with a deep and pressing need or in a small way with a tiny one. Stating something that you need or want the other person to do for you gives them a glimpse at some area of your life that is in some way deficient, or at least not fully self-sufficient. That’s not always easy, but I think any action that strips away any appearance of “having it all together” is good. Again, we’re killing pride.

 

The second reason to allow others to help you is this: it can actually be less selfish. Let me explain.

 

I like helping other people. Aside from the afore-mentioned pride that may be involved, I do think there’s just something that innately feels good about having helped someone else. 

 

Assuming that’s true for everyone, the walls that I have up against letting other people help me actually steal away an opportunity for someone else to enjoy that satisfaction of helping me. Again, there is a very fine line to tread here to avoid becoming an overly-needy person, but I think the point is still valid: letting others help you can help them feel like the useful and valued person God already knows they are. I can actually help others by allowing them to help me. 

 

Third reason: building a healthy community. Let me explain with a funny narrative. 

 

There’s a group of people I know (who shall remain as un-identifiable as possible, just in case…) that I interact with on a relatively regular basis without actually being part of the “inner circle,” if you will.  And this group of people (or at least a subset of it) has a somewhat peculiar habit: 

 

Sharing clothes. Sometimes without the knowledge of both parties involved in the transaction. 

 

I know this because they’ll offhandedly talk about how another member “still has that hoodie,” or that they’ve had someone else’s t-shirt in their room for several weeks, or that they could sleep over at a friend’s house at a moment’s notice because they’re sure they could borrow some clothes from them in the morning. 

 

This concept was totally and completely foreign to me. 

 

That sounds, um, kinda messy. I kinda like my clothes in my own house. I don’t really consider myself a neat freak, but I do like knowing where my stuff is, and keeping it organized and self-contained so I can find it later. 

 

As I pondered this new idea, I came to the realization that, despite the messiness of it, there was actually a big part of me that craved that type of community. Where it’s just expected that someone else has your back, because they know you’d have theirs. The default is that everyone helps everyone else, without anyone keeping score. 

 

Hmm… That picture actually kinda reminds me of the early church. Acts 2:44-45 says this:

 

“Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.”

 

And Acts 4:32 say something similar about that community of believers:

 

“Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.”

 

This was the beginning, where the Holy Spirit was enabling Peter and the other early church leaders to preach and teach and heal while thousands made the decision to follow Jesus. I don’t believe any church has ever been or will ever be perfect, but I think it’s safe to say that the early church was at least getting it mostly right.

And it appears that they were so sold-out to Jesus and what He was doing that they basically lost sight of their individualism in favour of the greater community, making sure that everyone had enough. In short, it became expected that everyone helped everyone else, not out of compulsion, but because they had their eyes set on a bigger prize than just getting more stuff. 

 

That’s an ideal that I’d like to strive towards. I’m certainly pretty far away from it right now, but maybe it starts with being humble enough to either be the most needy or the most generous individual within a community, and everywhere in between.

And a community like that doesn’t work if some people are always and only giving, because the receivers end up feeling lesser while the givers end up feeling high and mighty. There needs to be some sort of give an take all the way through. 

 

Ok, so being helped is good. Killing pride, giving others an opportunity to help, and building a community. Happy, good, and check. 

 

So how does it start? How does one move in the direction of being helped on a more regular basis?

 

For me at least, I think it’s pretty simple: um, ask for help. Yo. 

 

And not just when you’re at rock bottom and you’ve exhausted all of your individualistic options. Be quick to give help, but also don’t be afraid of asking for it. It’s entirely possible someone would love to have the opportunity to help you, and is just waiting for the opportunity. The more you give and ask for help, the more the culture around you morphs to expect that help is always available, and the more your community starts to look like that early church.

Ask someone to pass the water. Ask someone to grab you a coffee when you’re busy and they’re not. Ask someone to help out with something that is your responsibility but is stretching you too thin and overwhelming you. Ask to borrow someone’s hoodie. Ask someone to listen to the hardest part of your life right now, and to walk with you through it.

 

Yeah… I want to get better at this.

 

I want to be humble and vulnerable enough to let other people see the areas in my life where I need help. I want people to see me as someone that they can approach when they need help, because I have or inevitably will need their help at some point. I want to create a culture where any needs are expected to be met within the community. I want to be humble enough to ask my friends to grab me a coffee, or lend me a hoodie, or listen to the worst part of me and help me through it. 

 

I want to be helped. I need to be helped.

More Jesus, Less Me

Shocker: my life works better when Jesus is running it.

 

One of my recent blog posts was on “Honesty and Scheduling,” and I talked about a process Jesus is walking me through of filtering my life’s schedule through Him. I still frequently revert to old habits of filling up my schedule as quickly as I can, but I think I’m slowly getting better. I’m slowly learning to stop before saying “yes” to things, and make sure it makes sense with the priorities that I feel God has set in my life.

 

So, as any good teacher would, Jesus has let me continue working on lesson while he adds on another one:

 

Don’t just give your schedule to God. Give Him your to-do list too. 

 

Recently, I’ve been feeling frustrated, exhausted, and like I’m running on empty. I found myself ending a day drained, and yet feeling like I still needed to get things done. 

 

And it’s weird, because I don’t have anything on my to-do list that’s not “good”. But somehow I’ve come under the thinking that I needed to get all these things done, and get them done now, as soon as possible. So I’ve been trying. And, yes, failing. 

 

Finally, Jesus got my attention, and allowed me to see what I was doing, and how fruitless it was. 

 

It’s almost comical, thinking about it now… 

 

There I was, straining and pushing myself towards something, frantically asking Jesus to help me, and I think He was just sitting back like:

 

“Um. But… I don’t want you to do that right now. How about you do these other things over here? Promise it’ll work out way better!”

 

As good as it is to have a better perspective on the things that were draining my time and energy, it’s also frustrating, because I can’t think of a good “why” for any of the things that I was striving for. I think a big part of it was simply bending to culture or society’s expectation of what I should be trying to accomplish at this stage in my life.  Not what God wants me to do, but just what the “expected” thing is. 

 

Man, I never wanted to be there. I never wanted to be in a situation where I did something just because. Just because it felt like what I should do. I never wanted to drift into doing things for any reason other than that Jesus was drawing me towards it. 

 

But that’s where I was. Stressing myself out, using up all my energy chasing things that Jesus never asked me to do, letting those things dictate my life.

 

How did I get there? How did my life come to be run, at least in part, by a to-do list completely without a basis in His plan?

 

I think it comes down to a single word:

 

Trust. Or rather, the lack of it. 

 

I’m coming to believe that stress is merely an indicator of a lack of trust. Anxiety is a warning light that should remind me of Whom I’m following.

 

I do have some level for trust in Jesus. But the hardest thing for me to trust Him with right now is my life’s timeline

 

Like I said, I don’t believe any of those things I was chasing are wrong. I firmly believe I’ll come back to those things, in the right time, and it will be right and good. 

 

But I stopped believing that God’s timing was best. I want these things to happen now. I don’t want to wait a week, a month, and certainly not a year!

 

But if I actually trust God like I want to, I also trust His timeline. That means that my picture of a perfect timeline is completely thrown out. 

 

It also means that I won’t miss out on a thing. Even if things take decades longer than I want them to, it really doesn’t matter. If God is God, He can can redeem every single nano-second of time that the world would see as “wasted” while I was following Jesus and not doing what the rest of the world would.

 

So I’m learning to trust God. Not just with the what and how, but the when. I’m learning to filter not only my schedule, but also my to-do list past Him, and not doing anything that doesn’t have a “why” rooted in Him on some level. 

 

And, with God’s help, I will not go down that path again.

 

I will not bend.

 

I will not yield.

 

I will never again wear the chains of culture’s expectation. 

 

I will silence the lies that tell me I will miss out if I don’t do it now, or get it now. 

 

I refuse to listen to the myriad of voices, all chaotically screaming out what my life’s next goal should be. 

 

I will only sail the path He has charted for me. The compass that points to His will is the only one I will care to follow, ignoring all of the pretty things that tempt me along the way. 

 

And I am letting go. Letting go of all my plans, all my goals, all the items on that ever-present to-do list. 

 

And I will wait. I will wait. 

 

If it’s a year. If it’s 10. If it’s 20. I will wait until He says go.

 

Because it’s just not worth it to try to chase down these things outside of His will, outside of His timing. I end up drained, frustrated, tired, and wondering why I feel as if I am running this race on a treadmill. 

 

I am letting go. 

 

It’s all on the table. No item left out. I will only pick back up what He says to, and I will trust that I am missing nothing by leaving the rest on the table.

 

And man, when that happens, stress and anxiety just leave. I can completely let go of the things I’ve been worried about, those things that have been using up so much head space, and instead just focus on the things that God is leading me to. Instead of a futile attempt to get God to come over and help me pull in my direction, I’m instead trying to figure out which way God is pulling, and running with all my might in that direction. 

 

And that act of trust opens the door to peace. It just has to. When it’s all on Jesus’s shoulders, it lets me off the hook. And at the same time, it’s somehow a way more fruitful and productive way to live life. 

 

Yes indeed. Life works better when Jesus is running it.

Easter Thoughts (from 20,000 feet), Part Two

Here’s another thought I had from around the Easter season:

 

God’s grace doesn’t require an understanding of the depth of our own depravity. 

 

Let me try to unpack that:

 

I “accepted Jesus” somewhere between the ages of 5 and 7. I can tell you as a fact that I had no idea how sinful I was. I thought I was a pretty good kid with a couple defects, and I mostly decided to become a Christian because, well, that’s what the rest of my family had done, so I figured it must be all right!

 

As I’ve grown older, and grown further in Christ, I can see my faults more and more clearly. Just when I think I’ve finished tying off some loose end of a character flaw, another one rears it’s ugly head and reminds me why I need God’s grace, and how broken I really am. 

 

But that deeper understanding of how messed up I am doesn’t negate the salvation that I accepted as a snotty-nosed kid 20-ish years ago. Part of the beauty of God’s goodness is that it doesn’t even require the recipients to understand how good it actually is. I now understand that I will never understand just how good God is, and how big of a deal it is that all my sins are simply wiped away through the Cross.  And yet, God’s grace still remains. 

 

This is totally backwards to the way I give out my flawed version of “grace.”

 

If someone wrongs me, I hopefully have the integrity and character to forgive them. But before I do that, I want to explain, in painful detail, just how bad their actions against me were. 

 

Essentially, I’m saying, “Yes, I will forgive you, but first, let me help you understand just how good this forgiveness actually is by helping you understand how badly you screwed up.” 

 

Man, I am so glad God doesn’t do that. I sometimes feel like I can hardly handle just the slightest illumination into my failures that God so gently brings. If He shined a floodlight on all my failures at once, I’m afraid I’d simply shrivel up and die. 

 

And yet, He still extends Grace. He still offers His hand, face beaming with a joyous smile, as I again find myself stuck in the mud of my sin. And even as He pulls me out, again, there is never a moment where He sits me down to explain how far He had to come, how hard He had to look for me, or how much it cost Him. He simply gives, and keeps giving, never expecting us to truly appreciate the price that He paid. 

 

God’s goodness goes deeper and further than I will ever understand, and, to top it all of, my lack of understanding doesn’t bother God. 

 

That's some pretty good goodness.

"You haven't seen anything yet... 'Cause you don't know how good I get..."

Easter Thoughts from 20,000 feet, Part One

So, I’ve been thinking about Jesus. Surprise!

 

I love times of the year that seem to beg for reflection. Christmas, my own birthday, New Years, the Easter weekend… For me, at least, they remind me to take a step back, let my thoughts float within a particular theme, and let God speak through them. 

 

On this past Good Friday morning, before heading off to what proved to be an amazing joint Good Friday service with 7 of the churches around Cornwall, I had a moment to sit down and reflect. And I was struct with the thought of weight. The weight of sin. The weight of my sin. 

 

Messing up in life always carries consequences. Regardless of the outward, obvious consequences, there’s always an internal sting when we realize our failings. I think everyone feels it a bit differently, and some people get back up and move on faster than others, but I think, unless they’re some sort of psychopath, everyone has some pang of regret for the wrong they have done. 

 

As a Christian, I can eliminate that heaviness at the back of my mind by allowing Jesus’ death to wipe it away. I still learn from my mistakes (I hope), but it no longer weighs on me like it did before. 

 

For this and many other reasons, I can’t imagine living a life without Jesus and the refreshing forgiveness that He doles out to mess-ups like me. I feel like I would collapse under the struggle of trying to live with that backlog of my sins trying to crush me.  The only reason I can stand up at all is because of Jesus, and the way He takes all the crap of my past away. I’m not sure how I would function without that. 

 

And all this leads me to thinking about Jesus in his last hours on earth, as a mortal man wrapped around an immortal God.  He bore my sins, that weight, so that I didn’t have to.

 

But even crazier than that, He bore the weight of all sins. That just blows my mind. 

 

Murders.

 

Rapists.

 

Dictators.

 

Prostitutes. 

 

Cheaters. Liars. The scum of the earth. 

 

The weight of every single “little white lie,” every look of lust, every outburst of anger, not only past and present, but future, all placed on the back of a man who had never committed a single sin.

 

That’s brutal. That’s unfair. It seems that, if anyone should be put through something so horrific, it at least should’ve been someone who at least kinda deserved it. How about Barabbas? He seems about as guilty as anyone. Or how about someone more recent, like Hitler? At least then we could say that God’s judgement was directed at someone who was worse than most. 

 

Unfortunately, there’s a couple problems with this idea. 

 

First, it’s hard to know where to draw the line. Maybe Hitler accomplished more obvious evil than most people in human history, but that doesn’t mean he was any more deserving of God’s judgement than anyone else. 

 

I think, when we’re comparing a sinful human with a sinless God, the difference between getting in a fight with your sibling and murdering thousands of innocent people turns out to be totally insignificant. As brutal as it might seem, when we just compare any of us individually with God’s standard, we all fall so short it’s laughable.

It’s like comparing the hockey skill level of Wayne Gretzky in his prime to two 5-year old kids. Sure, one of those kids is going to be better than the other, but when you compare them each individually to Wayne Gretzky, the difference really doesn’t end up mattering. The sheer scale of comparison makes any differences between those kids insignificant, and the scale is immeasurably larger when it comes to the righteousness of God and man. 

 

So then, maybe Hitler can’t really be the one to blame. It turns out, we’re all to blame. We’ve all failed to live up to God’s standards, and when we’re being compared to perfection, that pretty much levels the playing field. 

 

But there’s a second problem that I think exists with the whole “let’s put sin on Hitler instead” idea. I’ll admit that I do not have Scriptures on tap to back up this idea, and while browsing the web during flight is actually possible, it turns out to be slow and expensive, so I’m not currently able to do research to back up this thought. Given that disclaimer, I still think this is a God thought, so I’m going for it:

 

Maybe the only Being able to carry the weight of sin itself without collapsing had to be a perfect, sinless man. Maybe an ordinary, sin-filled human wouldn’t have even had the capacity to stand up under the weight of God’s forthcoming judgement that night before in the garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus Himself asked for the “cup to be taken away from Him.” Maybe, if Father God had instead chosen an ordinary human to break sin’s power, they simply would’ve self-destructed under the weight on the road to the crucifixion site, instead of being sacrificed like Jesus had to be. 

 

Jesus asked for another way. I imagine that the Father would’ve found one if it existed. But He didn’t. And maybe that’s because Jesus was the only possible way for mankind to have a chance to live free from sin. 

 

That would make Jesus our one and only chance, and He didn’t let us down. The perfect one solved the problem introduced through Adam and Eve, once and, literally, for all, if they would but accept it. The only one strong enough to carry our weight was also perfectly willing to be “led as a lamb to the slaughter,” perfectly willing to endure not only the physical torture of crucifixion, but the emotional and spiritual torment of carrying the sins of the entire human race, and having Father God turn away from that concentration of sin in Jesus’ final moments. 

 

Perfectly willing to die so that sin and death’s power over you and me could be broken, forever and always.

 

Yeah, I'll say yes to that any day.