Posted by: Brad Stanford | July 5, 2014

It’s Not About “From”. Its About “Through”.

I have been thinking a lot about eternity lately, as I have been touched by suffering and death in multiple ways in recent days. I try to keep in mind that the end of my story on earth can come at any moment. Like everyone else, I have to realize that I might not finish every project, say everything I need to say, or accomplish anything important. Moreover, I might not even be remembered. In fact, it’s likely that I won’t be, at least by history.

Invariably, I end up at the same spot that any thinking person does, “What’s the point? If there is a loving God, why doesn’t He just rescue us out of this mess?”

In the garden before his death, Jesus is pleading to not have to go through. His flesh wants out. This is our condition. This is why he can say he suffered through everything that we’ve suffered, even though he was never tempted to look at porn on the internet, or drive too fast in his car. All flesh is looking for a way out. A rescue. An immediate end to pain now, and forever. He experienced that.

But in that same moment, he reveals the solution: “Not what I want, God, but what you want.”

He was doing far more than setting an example for how to live. He was calling out the destination. He was yelling, “The way out is through!”

Through pain.
Through suffering.
Through death.

On the other side is exactly what you’re looking for. You won’t – you can’t – find what you’re looking for here. You must go through to get it.

Solomon tried everything. He enjoyed whatever he wanted and took full advantage of his position and knowledge. Finally, he ended up here: The best you can do is serve God, learn to like your work, and enjoy your friends and family each day.

Nowadays, Solomon would have said, “The view from the top is meh.”

We have no way to properly imagine what we ask for. We’re constantly trying to fix the fallout from what was – or seemed to be – a good idea at the time. Our fantasies about getting our own way are completely false, and when we find them to be so, continue trying to fix reality to meet our expectations.

Our first disappointment is when we learn how hard it is to exist.
The second is how hard it is to achieve.
The third is learning  how the result of accomplishing a goal is different than we thought it would be.
The fourth is having to work again to make it not so.

Life out of sync with God’s design is hardly a life at all. He promised to bring you food and clothes. He tried to tell you all those accomplishments and the approval of others wouldn’t make you happy. And yet, we mock his laws and direction as old fashioned or whatever.

Wow, we’re messed up sometimes. And by sometimes, I mean all the time.

The call of God is not, as has been advertised over the centuries, “Come and be pious.” Last I checked, pious people had no advantage over non-pious people at the end of the story (and Solomon agrees). The actual call is, “I’m showing you how to get through. Follow me, and come get what you’re looking for!”

Each time we go through something, it moves us. Motion can be directed. You can, after all, steer a moving car. However, if it’s sitting still, you can turn the wheel all you want, and the car will not get to where it needs to go. Steering and motion are two different things.

But when you’re in motion (going through things), guidance is possible.

The gospel call to put your faith in the work of Jesus is a simple one. It says, “Based on me getting myself through, do you believe I can get you through?” Faith in Jesus starts the engine. going through things puts us in motion. God directs that motion to tell more of his story.

This is why the resurrection is the central theme. It’s through, by example. Not around, not over, not avoiding, not procrastinating. Through. God’s way is to take you through, ultimately into his presence, on his side of the fence.

We don’t complain about the farmer burying his seeds in the dirty, cold, dark, damp, bug-infested ground. We don’t chastise him for drowning the seed in water everyday, or not protecting the seed from the rain. We don’t arrest him for murder because he kills the seed.

The reason: it all makes sense on this side of the soil.

We know the plant is the part that makes it through all that, and becomes a blessing to all who see it and harvest the produce. The above example is considered ludicrous on this side of the soil.

We complain about the darkness and death here on earth, but God says, “Come to me (through the darkness), and you will leave all of the darkness behind you.

God’s plan is through. He did it himself. He invites us to do the same.

Our biggest accomplishment in life has nothing to do with getting things done. The greatest thing you can do is to choose to go through. Sure, a life of “through” will not make sense to the “make the dirt a better place” crowd. But is your ultimate goal to make sense to everyone? Me neither.

Through the darkness, not rescue from it – that’s what we really need.

Embrace that idea, and everything will change.

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