|Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas||Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor|
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When life hurts, there's nothing like talking with someone who has actually been there. That may be the most powerful distinctive of Christianity among the world's religions. Emmanuel means "God with us," and the story of Jesus our Emmanuel means
that, when it comes to life's hurts, God has been there.
As hard as I tried, I could not run from the question, "Who died on the cross?" If we don't know his name, how can we know the God who put him there? But suppose Jesus did die on the cross, and suppose God intended it to be so; how would that change our knowledge of God? I reflected on the suffering and the heartbreak which are part of life, hopes that are often dashed to pieces.... It seemed to me that deep down at the center and core of life, the cross and its anonymous burden was declaring something about the inner integrity and mystery of life which rang true to all authentic experience.... God actually did demonstrate his solidarity with humanity by visibly entering our world and defeating death itself.
Likewise, it was the suffering in the Gospel story, not just the triumph, that restored Edward Shillito's faith after experiencing the horrors of the first World War. Reflecting on the moment when the risen Jesus shows the scars of his crucifixion to his disciples. Shillito wrote:
If we have never sought, we seek Thee now;
If life hurts right now, trust in the One who endured life's hurts and triumphed!
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