We live in a fallen world. Nothing is right. Nothing is as it should be. There are shadows on the edge of all life. These shadows haunt all of our stories. These shadows are dead loved ones, natural disasters turned serial killers; they are abuse, neglect, and abandonment. They are evil. Products from the seed of one fruit consumed. They are a dark providence.
“If you think you are happy, you need a more accurate measure. Nothing lasts. Ask Ramses. // Floods will always find you, water seeking other water. Even here, even Memphis.” Mark Doty
From the outside looking in this dark providence overwhelms. It leaves no hope. “Floods will always find you.” But you cannot only read one chapter and determine there is no hope. You don’t just start a story and stop. You are the story. You are invested.
As Christians we know there’s more to it, but we still miss the point. How many times has someone said, “God works all things for good. You just gotta find it.”
We should embrace these words as spoke by God for us. They are not dim. But we have covered them in sentimentality. We have pasted them on cheap coffee mugs, t-shirts, and get well cards.
But when God makes broken into brand-new, he doesn’t do it cheaply. “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things” (Romans 8:32). Notice “all things” (v. 28) and “all things” (v. 32).
When God works all things together for our good, he does it with the blood of his Son. Blood makes all things work. He does not spare his own Son.
When the floods find you, rebuff them with the blood of God’s Son. When you comfort those who are mourning, hurting, dying. When you comfort the fearful, painful, and sorrowful, do not glibly say, “everything works out for good.” Where is Christ in those words?
When God says he works for your good, he doesn’t spare his own son. He comforts you with priceless blood. He comforts you because he poured out his infinite anger on that Man.
God never asks you to forget those shadows. He sees your suffering. It is not cheap.
He asks you to bury your pain, grief, sorrow, suffering, death, abuse, sin--all things--within the deep wounds of His Son. To know Christ is to know his suffering. That’s not cheap.