Tuesday, December 6, 2011

There's Blood in the Will

"Now if we are children, then we are heirs..." so begins today's memory work.  I've been spending time in Romans 8, putting it in my head so it will make a home in my heart..."heirs of God, and co-heirs with Christ..."  Ooh, I like that. That would be a nice back tattoo, "Co-heir with Christ."  Not that I have a back tattoo.  Mine is on my neck! This is why we follow Jesus, right? For example, if I'm a co-heir with Paris Hilton then I predict cash, lots of cash, designer clothes, caviar for my punt-size dog, parties, and crazy-expensive cars.  And God allotted so much more to his son.  He was glorified, lifted up, and exalted to the right hand of God.  Sign me up for that.  "Heeellooo brother Jesus!"

But the verse knows our tendency, "Oh, you want Jesus's inheritance.  Sure you do. Then you must have it all."  And so Romans 8:17 continues: "...if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory."   Not only are we co-heirs with Christ in his glorification but co-heirs in his suffering!  We want the glorification, but the suffering... "Glorification" is inheriting your grandmother's yacht and diamond jewelry.  "Suffering" is inheriting your grandmother's dying, balding cat with a drainage tube.  But in the Jesus story, suffering had to precede glorification.  The cross had to come before the resurrection and ascension. 

No one is a "resurrection" fan more than me!  I wake up everyday and taste, smell, see, hear, and touch the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but Romans 8 says there is something to the suffering.  We hate to hear that because in our world we try to hide suffering, to mask it, medicate it, flee from it, feed it, give it a makeover with cars, houses, clothes, and trips.  But if you are a Child of God, you inherit it. 

8:17 just happened to be the verse on the day I was feeling the pain, when I was frustrated with myself, when I was struggling with the future (Where will my family end up?).  I wanted it to stop, but as 8:17 made its way into my head it said, "Don't silence the pain!  Listen to it.  It is trying to make you more like Jesus!"  How is my suffering (self-induced, I haven't forgot) pushing and pulling me into the image of Christ?  I'm learning dependence upon God.  I'm learning I'm expendable, relationships are all that really matter, compassion, the seriousness of sin, to find the Kingdom in the moment (every moment), to see the imago dei in all people, to trust in silence... All of this in the suffering.

Perhaps you are suffering today.  Perhaps your prayer today is like mine was this morning, "When God?  When will you end this?  Take it away!"  That is a prayer of faith, a fair prayer, a prayer echoed throughout the Christian story.  But maybe today you can pray, in honor of 8:17, "Father, I don't like this suffering.  I want it to end, but please!  Today, teach me Jesus in my suffering.  Amen!"

 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.  Rom. 8:17

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